FAQ: Schedule B and HS Numbers

What is a Harmonized System (HS) classification number, the Schedule B number, and it there a difference between the two numbers?

Why do I need HS/Schedule B numbers and how can I find them?

Why do you need to know your product’s Schedule B and HS numbers?

How do you identify your product’s Schedule B and HS numbers?

What’s the purpose of the Schedule B search engine?

How does the Schedule B search work?

What exactly is searched with the Schedule B search?

Does the Schedule B search look for data over the entire U.S. International Trade Statistics web site?

What if I can’t find what I’m looking for with the Schedule B search?

I already know my Schedule B codes, but I want to see what codes are close to them. How do I search for my specific Schedule B code?

What’s the difference between the Schedule B codes (for exports) and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes (for imports)?

What’s the difference between “AES” and “Data User” Concordance files?

What is a Harmonized System (HS) classification number, the Schedule B number, and it there a difference between the two numbers?

The international Harmonized System (HS) is administered by the World Customs Organization and serves as the foundation for the import and export classification systems used in the United States. The United States (U.S.) import classification system, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) administered by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and the U.S. export classification system, the Schedule B administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division, both rely on the international HS codes for their 4- and 6-digit headings and subheadings. The World Customs Organization updates the HS System approximately every five years. The year 2012 marked the most recent HS revision, meaning the next revision will not be due until 2017.

Since greater commodity detail are needed than the 4- and 6-digit HS headings and subheadings, the HTS and Schedule B classification systems expand their coverage to statistical descriptions at the 10-digit level. HS numbers and Schedule B numbers will be the same up to the first 6 digits as the importing country's classification code.

A Schedule B number is a 10-digit number used in the United States to classify physical goods for export to another country. The Schedule B is based on the international Harmonized System (HS) of 6-digit commodity classification codes. There is a Schedule B number for every physical product, from paperclips to airplanes.

Schedule B numbers are administered and used by the U.S. Commerce Department, Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division to collect and publish the U.S. export statistics. Schedule B numbers are required to be reported in the Automated Export System (AES) when shipments are valued over $2,500 or the item requires a license.

Why do I need HS/Schedule B numbers and how can I find them?

The Harmonized System (HS) is an international product classification protocol used by customs officials for levying tariffs and controlling quotas on imported goods.

The U.S. uses a 10-digit Schedule B classification system that is based upon the Harmonized System. The first six digits of the Schedule B and Harmonized System numbers are the same.

Why do you need to know your product’s Schedule B and HS numbers?

Exporters need to know their product’s Schedule B and HS numbers for the following reasons:

1. To determine applicable import tariff rates and whether a product qualifies for a preferential tariff under a Free Trade Agreement;

2. To file the Electronic Export Information in the Automated Export System (AES); and

3. To complete shipping documents, such as certificates of origin.

How do you identify your product’s Schedule B and HS numbers?

You can find your Schedule B number using the free online Schedule B Search accessible through www.census.gov/scheduleb. If you need export classification assistance, email ftd.scheduleb@census.gov or call 1-800-549-0595, Menu Option #2.

For assistance identifying your appropriate HS number, you may also contact your local Export Assistance Center or call the Trade Information Center (TIC):

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
E-mail: tic@mail.doc.gov
Internet: http://www.export.gov

To get a duty rate for importing products into a foreign country, one needs to have the complete classification number used by the importing country. Since this is sometimes difficult, companies can use the Schedule B number to approximate.

What’s the purpose of the Schedule B search engine?

The Schedule B search engine allows users to search the Schedule B commodity book. Schedule B commodity codes are 10-digit numeric codes used to identify products that are exported to other countries. Each 10-digit code usually takes the form AABBCCDDDD and belongs to several groups. The 2-digit group is the first two digits (AA). The 4-digit group is the first four digits (AABB). The 6-digit group is the first six digits (AABBCC). They are similar to 10-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) codes (the import codes) in that the groups are the same up to the 6-digit level. At the 10-digit level, Schedule B codes and HTS codes can be different.

How does the Schedule B search work?

There are two files:

1. the Schedule B book, with the code numbers and full descriptions;

2. 6-digit Schedule B alpha index (with alternative descriptions).

The search with look for whatever phrase is entered in the search field. If CARBINE is entered in the search field, it will look for any entry with the word CARBINE. If COMBUSTION ENGINES is entered, it will look for COMBUSTION ENGINES. However, if a phrase is entered in the search field that does not exist in the search files, the search will yield no results. For instance, if the word COMPUTERS is entered, the search with yield nothing when searching the Scheudle B files. However, when searching the 6-digit alpha index, it shows that computers are officially known as AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES.

What exactly is searched with the Schedule B search?

The text of the 10-digit Schedule B codes are searched as well as an alphabetical index of the 6-digit Schedule B codes.

Does the Schedule B search look for data over the entire U.S. International Trade Statistics web site?

No. This search ONLY LOOKS FOR SCHEDULE B CODES. You cannot search for trade balances with other countries using this site.

What if I can’t find what I’m looking for with the Schedule B search?

First, try searching on synonyms. Then, try searching on substrings. The word COMPUTERS may not show up in the Schedule B search, but the word COMPUTER will. If you have too many choices in the results, try searching the results page with the SEARCH PAGE option of your browser.

For further assistance, please contact the Trade Information Center (TIC):

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
E-mail: tic@mail.doc.gov
Internet: http://www.export.gov

I already know my Schedule B codes, but I want to see what codes are close to them. How do I search for my specific Schedule B code?

Schedule B codes, at their most detailed, have 10 digits. Assuming AABBCCDDDD is a generic 10-digit Schedule B code, it will be referred to in one of two ways: AABBCCDDDD or AABB.CC.DDDD. All of the reference books have the decimals after the fourth and sixth digits (like the second example), so that's probably the most common way.

To search for a specific Schedule B code, just enter the code without the decimals. If your code is 1234.56.7890, search on 1234567890. The same holds true for searching for chapters or other Schedule B codes that are less than 10 digits. Looking for the code 0987.65? Search on 098765. This will yield a page of descriptions where 098765 appear in either the descriptions or the codes.

Example:

Search on 1234567890 -

Results -

 Code

Description

 1234567890

 <Example Description 1>

 <Example Code>

 <Example description containing 1234567890>

Search on 098765 -

Results -

 Code

 Description

 098765

<Example description for the 6-digit code>

<Any code starting with 098765>

<Example description 2>

<Any code containing 098765>

<Example description 3>

<Example code>

<Example description containing 098765>

What’s the difference between the Schedule B codes (for exports) and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes (for imports)?

The international Harmonized System (HS) is administered by the World Customs Organization and serves as the foundation for the import and export classification systems used in the United States. The United States (U.S.) import classification system, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) administered by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and the U.S. export classification system, the Schedule B administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division, both rely on the international HS codes for their 4- and 6-digit headings and subheadings.

A Schedule B number is a 10-digit code used in the U.S. to classify physical goods for export to another country. An HTS number is a 10-digit code used to classify physical goods imported into the U.S. from another country. There are more HTS numbers than Schedule B numbers, reflecting a greater amount of detail on products imported into the U.S. Though matched at the 6-digit HS level, Schedule B and HTS codes for products may not be the same up to the 10-digit level. When filing U.S. import or export records, it is important to use the correct classification system.

What’s the difference between “AES” and “Data User” Concordance files?

The Data User Concordance files are designed for those who use our published data. These files contain:

  • All current export and import commodity codes for which we collect trade data
  • Descriptions
  • Units of quantity
  • Corresponding codes in other classification systems (e.g. End-Use, NAICS, SITC, etc.)

The Data User Concordance files are updated annually in mid-February, when we publish data for the new year. The import file may change during the year as often as the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is revised.

The AES Concordance files are designed for those who file export transactions. These files include:

  • All current Schedule B codes (AES Export Concordance)
  • All current Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes that can be reported for export purposes (AES Import Concordance)
  • Descriptions
  • Required units of quantity

The AES Import Concordance excludes HTS codes that are not valid for AES. The AES Concordance files are updated annually in late December.