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Common Import/Export Questions

What are the differences between HS codes and HTS codes?

HS Codes
The Harmonized System classification is a six-digit standard, called a subheading, for classifying globally traded products. HS codes, also called HS numbers, are used by customs authorities around the world to identify the duty and tax rates for specific types of products. HS codes are administered by the World Customs Organization. HS codes are recognized in 98% of world trade. There are six digits in an HS code. You use an HS code because it is a universal classification tool—many governments add additional digits to the HS number to further distinguish products in certain categories. These additional digits are typically different in every country.

HTS Codes
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule code is a 10-digit import classification system that is specific to the United States. HTS codes, also called HTS numbers, are administered by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). It’s very important that all U.S. importers know and use the correct HTS-US codes, because commodity duties are assessed based on this classification. An HTS code takes the same form as an HS code for the first six digits, and then has four differing last digits.

Why are my international orders on hold?

Shipwire requires that products in orders that ship internationally (i.e. cross national borders) have attributes that specify both the country of origin (‘Made In’), and the HS code.

Why the change?
We are making this change to reduce the incidence of improperly calculated tariffs or duties, and to streamline international order processing.

What will happen if HS code is not defined?
Orders which do not have both a country of origin, and a valid HS classification will trigger a hold in your Shipwire account. You will need to update your Product Catalog to fill in any missing information. The fastest way to validate this information is as follows:

  1. Go to https://app.shipwire.com/merchants/app#merchants_store_products. Note: You will have to log in.
  2. Click on the Upload Spreadsheet button
  3. Click on a Download template links (in your favorite format – e.g. Excel, CSV). This will download a product catalog spreadsheet, with all of your currently defined products included.
  4. Open this spreadsheet with an Excel or CSV viewer (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Google Docs)
  5. Review, and correct the data in the [country of origin], and [hs_code] columns for each of your products. If you are not sure what HS values to use, you can lookup values here: http://www.foreign-trade.com/reference/hscode.htm
  6. Save the file.
  7. Go back to: https://app.shipwire.com/merchants/app#merchants_store_products
  8. Click on the Upload Spreadsheet button
  9. Click Choose File, and select the file you just saved. Go ahead and upload the product. Shipwire will warn you that you already have these products defined. Go ahead and proceed.
  10. Your information should be up-to-date.

On a go-forward basis, all you will need to do is to make sure that any new product conforms with these requirements.


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