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Import Tariffs, HTS Codes and Your Shop Floor

Import tariffs have been in the news a lot the last couple of years.  Tariffs are fees assessed on imported and exported goods.  The United States government has made a lot of changes to the tariffs assessed on imports this year, especially with steel and aluminum.  Some of the other products affected are iron, copper, plastics, resins, machinery, motors, integrated circuits (chip), granite, chemicals, clothing, food, etc.   More changes are anticipated in September.

HTS/HS Classification

The classifications used to identify the tariff for an article are very specific and based upon its material composition, product name and/or intended use.  The classifications are very detailed and precise.  In the United Sates we use a Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code, other countries use a Harmonized System (HS) classification code for their imported goods.

The HTS code used in the United States is comprised of ten characters: a chapter, the category within the chapter (or heading), a subcategory (or sub-heading) and the suffix which is used for categorization for specific countries.  An example of an HTS code is 3926.90.9600 “Casing for bicycle derailleur cables; and casing for cable or inner wire for caliper and cantilever brakes, whether or not cut to length.”

Adapt to Tariff Changes

When tariff (or duty) rates change, that can impact the cost and resulting selling prices of your products.  The tariff rates may vary for an article based upon the country the article is imported from.  Are you keeping up with all the tariff changes?  Does your IBM system software allow you to assign the HTS or HS classification code for your items?  If you are importing goods are you keeping your costs updated for the tariff changes?   How quickly can you update all of your costs, and/or selling prices,  when a new duty rate is published?  Should you be including the HTS or HS  classification code on your packing lists, purchase orders, bills of lading, invoices and other documents?

Software Help

ISE holds particularly strong expertise with Infor XA, but regardless of your ERP software ISE can help you resolve all of these questions with solutions to record the HTS or classification code by item and country of origin and keep track of the duty rates and use those duty rates to keep your item costs, and/or selling prices, up to date.


Jeanne Balzuweit 

Senior Programmer/Analyst with Information Systems Engineering, Inc.

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