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Understanding the Purpose of the Tariff Code

Tariff Code

A tariff code is a numerical code that is assigned to products that are sold on an international market. This coding system was created by the World Customs Organization as a way to classify and organize goods that are being sold throughout the world.

Failure to comply with the harmonized tariff code system implemented by the Worlds Customs Organization, is a failure to follow regulations regarding international trade, and is punishable by law.

Essentially, a harmonized tariff code is a number that is given to an item, in order be able to identify it on the international market. When it comes to the numbering system, the most basic items available are given short, six digit codes. The more specialized items are given up to ten digit codes.

Trade items are broken down into subcategories using their tariff codes; this is why they range in digits, because the more digits there are means that it fits into another subsection. Besides helping to organize and regulate trade, a harmonized tariff code is a beneficial aid when it comes to monitoring issues regarding goods that have been distributed throughout the world.

For example, if there is a food product that has been contaminated by a pesticide or has been found to be making people sick, a call can go out to check the shipments with the specific tariff code. From there, customs can dispose the dangerous items. The tariff code is an organizational and safety tool.

NEXT: What are Custom Tariffs?

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