The Harmonized System
The Harmonized System or HS, is the common name for an international goods classification system called the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. This system entered into force on 1 January 1988, under the auspices of the Customs Cooperation Council, which is an international customs body located in Brussels.
The Harmonized System is a structural nomenclature comprising descriptions of goods that are set out under 4-digit classification numbers called headings. Most of these headings are further subdivided into 5- and 6-digit classification numbers called subheadings.
The headings are so structured to accommodate particular groupings of related goods. The subheadings provide separate treatment and/or identification for the more commonly traded goods that are included within the scope of the headings.
The Harmonized System is designed to provide a method for classifying all goods in international trade. The harmonized System is largely derived from its predecessor, the Customs Co-operation Nomenclature.