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What are HS Number, HTS Code, and Schedule B Codes?

Updated: Nov 19



HS Number, HTS Code or Schedule B Codes - What’s the Difference?

In international trade, codes and numbers are used to define and classify product details, customs information, taxes, and more. These codes and numbers are used by customs officials for levying tariffs, controlling quotas, and collecting statistics on traded goods.

At first glance, these codes and numbers can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to international trade. Continue reading to learn what HS Numbers, HTS Codes and Schedule B Codes are and to understand the differences.


Harmonized System Numbers (HS) 

Harmonized System Numbers (HS) are four- or six-digit codes administered by the World Customs Organization to classify products being traded around the world. HS numbers are recognized globally and serve as the foundation for the United States' import/export classification system. To correctly classify the HS numbers for your products, consult with a licensed Customs Broker such as ClearFreight, or visit here for more information.

Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule is primarily used by the United States as its import classification system. The HTS code consists of ten digits, with the first six digits deriving from the product's HS code. The last four digits are administered by the U.S. International Trade Commission. These final four digits give the product a more detailed description/classification, which helps the United States keep track of import quotas and make sure proper duty is collected.


Schedule B Codes 

These codes are specifically used for United States export classifications. Similar to the HTS codes, Schedule B Codes consist of 10 digits administered by the U.S. Commerce Department and Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Division to collect and publish export statistics on U.S. goods. Like the HTS Codes, the first six digits of the Schedule B Codes are the same as the product’s HS Number. Every product exported, no matter how big or small, has a Schedule B Code. To identify your product's Schedule B Code, please visit the Schedule B Search.


The Difference 

While all three codes are used to classify goods being shipped, the HS code is globally recognized while the HTS number (imports) and the Schedule B Codes (exports) are for use in the U.S. only. Furthermore, the HS number only contains 6 digits while the HTS number and Schedule B Codes contain 10 digits for more detailed classification.

Keep in mind, it is always the shipper’s responsibility to know and provide the correct HS number/Schedule B Code for the products being shipped. When determining tariff rates, verifying declarations, and producing other relevant shipping documents , knowing the difference will come in handy and save you time and money.


For help with classifying your products or clearing customs on your shipments, contact one of our customs brokerage experts today!

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