What are General Rules of Interpretation?

In previous posts we have discussed how to classify commodities using the Harmonized Tariff System. In order to use the tariff it is important to understand the General Rules of Interpretation which are found at the beginning of the publication. There are 6 General Rules plus some additional rules. Here are the first two rules as shown in the HTUS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States). Look for the rest of the rules in future posts. Contact mitch@ for help with regulatory questions.


Classification of goods in the tariff schedule shall be governed by the following principles:

1. The table of contents, alphabetical index, and titles of sections, chapters and sub-chapters are provided for ease of reference only;

for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter

notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the following provisions:

2. (a) Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided

that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall

also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this

rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

(b) Any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of

that material or substance with other materials or substances. Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall

be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of

goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.


NLR No License Required…Are you sure?


In previous posts I have written about the importance of proper commodity classification and how to determine ECCN. The next step in export compliance is checking for license requirements based on country of ultimate destination. Here is some info from the BIS website. Don’t automatically assume NLR No License Required is accurate for your exports.

Contact mitch@ for help with export compliance.


Country Guidance

The country of ultimate destination is a key factor in determining license requirements administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) pursuant to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). BIS maintains the Commerce Country Chart to use in conjunction with other portions of the EAR to determine whether a license is required.  Please review Part 732 of the EAR for additional information on how to use the EAR, including the Commerce Country Chart.

LinkedIn Comments on Incoterms

A Behind the Scenes Look at Incoterms

EXW. FCA. CPT. CIP. DAT. DAP. DDP. FAS. FOB. CFR. CIF. My guess is you know what these three-letter codes mean (or at least have a vague idea). But do you know how they came to be in the first place? Check out this article to find out more: http://hubs.ly/H01hC7F0

  • Mitch Kostoulakos CTL,LCB

    Good info, thanks David. Incoterms are an important part of any international transaction and should be noted on the commercial invoice.