Product classification is an internationally shared process among all trading countries. In the U.S., products are classified
according to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS). When entering goods into the U.S., the HTSUS designated 10-digit HTS code is required and used to determine the applicable duty rate.
The HTS is declared by the importer and used to assess tariffs, determine eligible free trade agreements, generate trade statistics, and monitor quota or controlled goods.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires an importer of record, among other responsibilities, to exercise
reasonable care to determine the classification of a good, pay the correct duties, and appropriately avail itself of duty
saving opportunities like free trade agreements, China tariff exclusions, and other duties. Failing to meet the reasonable
care standard exposes an importer to potentially high penalties under 19 U.S.C. 1592 and can subject an importer to
detention or seizure of goods.
This article by Jennifer Diaz and Sharath Patil of MSI's Florida specialist law member Diaz Trade Law provides a basic overview of the complex process of classification, practice tips on meeting the reasonable care standard, how to effectively classify goods imported into the U.S., and additional resources to assist in the classification process.