Shipping Terms Glossary

Shipping Terms Glossary
Harmonized System Code (HS Code)

Harmonized System Code (HS Code)

Harmonized System (HS) is an internationally recognized system of numerical codes that help with identifying the category of the goods being shipped.

What is the HS code?

Harmonized System (HS) is an internationally recognized system of numerical codes that help with identifying the category of the goods being shipped.


HS codes help communicate what the product is, what it's made of, and where it's coming from, so that customs authorities can quickly identify and determine tax rates.

What is the HS code?

Why is the HS code important?

Each HS Code’s product category has a specific tariff rate, which is used by customs to calculate your import duties.


Step by step guide: How can you find your HS code?

Let's work with an example

Let’s say you are planning to ship 1 carton from Thailand to the US by air.

Product: 100% cotton t-shirts
Declared value: US$ 10,000
Export country: China
Import country: USA


Step 1: Open the US HS Code Tool.

Step 2: Type the product name into the search bar.

How to find HS code

Step 3: Search the list for the correct type of material.

Scroll down until you find “Of cotton” in the article description.

Looking up HS Code

You can see that all clothing articles made of cotton have a specific heading, in this case 6109.10.

Step 4: Narrow it down by clothing type (in this case t-shirts)

In the Suffix column, search for the code given to the product type you're looking for. In our case, the suffix for T-shirts is 04.


Add this suffix to the heading, and voilà! The complete HS code for our 100% cotton t-shirts is 6109.10.04

Download our
Import Guide

Other free resources:

Find out the HS codes and the tariff rates for the following regions at their respective customs websites:

Cristian Ungureanu

Logistics nerd and resident marketing guy of Bookairfreight. I love writing content that simplifies old-fashioned industry processes and provides solid, accurate information you can base your decisions on. Outside of logistics, I enjoy nature, hanging out with friends, electronic music and spirituality.

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