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.


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