Classification Best Practices

As an independent consultant and Licensed Customs Broker my most frequent client requests are for classification help.

There are 3 ways to classify: 1) self classify, 2) consult with commodity manufacturer, 3) request rulings from CBP (imports) or BIS (exports).

HTS and Schedule B best practices include checking and confirming commodity classifications at least annually. Here is some info which will help:

  • Classification is subjective- tariff schedules do not necessarily keep up with technology
  • Customs definitions can differ from industry definitions
  • Different interpretations exist between countries and also between ports within the same country

The basic components of a best in class process are:

  1. Break down items from universe into groups
  2. Research- even if you think you know the correct classification is a good tool
  3. Identify necessary info needed for classification such as materials, dimensions, intended use, etc
  4. Documentation- needed to support your determination
  5. Automation- implementing a software classification tool will improve efficiency and productivity
  6. On-going maintenance and monitoring for changes in HTS binding rulings and in your products is essential

Supporting documentation includes

  • spec sheets, drawings, photos
  • info requests from engineers, scientists, chemists, etc
  • HTS chapter and section notes that apply to your product
  • explanatory notes
  • informed compliance publications
  • customs rulings that apply to your product
  • record keeping (5 years)

contact mitch@adhoclogisticsfor immediate assistance.