About the Tariff

The Classification Number

Within each Chapter, goods are listed according to a hierarchical classification system, broken down into finer and finer categories. The lowest breakdown level is called the Classification Number. This is the number that must be used on the Customs documents. There is a Classification Number for every product that anyone could ever wish to import.

The Classification Number is put together in a very logical manner. Consisting of 10 digits, each digit provides specific data used to systematically produce an increasingly accurate description of the item. Because the Harmonized System was designed to be used on a global basis, the first 6 digits fulfil the international requirements while the last 4 have been designated for Country-specific Tariff and statistical purposes.

Example: 0406.20.90.20 Cheese, as an animal product, is found in Section I: Live Animals; Animal Products. Classification down to the 10 digit level can be reached as follows:

04 is the Chapter designation indicating that the item belongs to Chapter 4: dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin not elsewhere specified or included.
04.06 is the Heading within Chapter 4, creating a more specific description of the type of dairy product: Cheese and Curd.
0406.20 is the Subheading indicating the type of cheese or curd: grated or powdered cheese of all kinds. Note that the decimal in between the first two digits and last two digits of the Heading level moves to after the first four digits in the Subheading level and below.
0406.20.90 is the Tariff Item, describing the variety of grated or powdered cheese: other than cheddar and cheddar types. The Canadian duty rate is assessed at this level. The official unit of measurement is assigned, where applicable, at this level when the Statistical Suffix is 00.
0406.20.90.20 is the Classification Number, specifying the exact type of grated or powdered cheese other than cheddar: Romano. The classification number is built by adding a two digit code, the Statistical Suffix (in this case 20) to the Tariff Item. Note that all Classification Numbers belonging to a given Tariff Item will have the same duty rate. As well, the official unit of measurement is assigned, where applicable, at this level when the Statistical Suffix is other than 00.

The classification of an item can be somewhat more complicated than this. Often, the digits at a given level are filled in with zeros indicating that no further breakdown is required at that level. For example, look at 8502.20.00.00 the Classification Number for Generating sets with spark-ignition internal combustion piston engines.

Note that the digits for the Tariff Item and Classification Number levels are zeros. This indicates that no further breakdown beyond the Subheading is required and that the Subheading, Tariff Item and Classification Number levels are all encompassed by the same number. It is quite common for the last 2 digits of the Classification Number to be filled in with zeros to indicate that the duty rates and statistical classification are to be determined at the same level of detail.

On the other hand, when a more complex breakdown than that shown in the powdered cheese example, above, is required, both digits of one or more levels are filled in with non-zero digits. Look at the following examples:

8413.30.10 Fuel injection pumps for diesel or semi-diesel engines; pumps for the marine propulsion engines tariff item No. 8408.10.10.
8413.30.10.10 For marine engines
8413.30.10.20 For locomotive engines
8413.30.10.30 For aircraft engines
8413.30.10.40 For engines for motor vehicles of Chapter 87
8413.30.10.90 For other engines
8413.30.90 Other
8413.30.90.10 Fuel pumps
8413.30.90.11 For marine engines
8413.30.90.12 For locomotive engines
8413.30.90.13 For aircraft engines
8413.30.90.14 For engines for motor vehicles of Chapter 87
8413.30.90.19 For other engines

Note that the first Tariff Item on the page, 8413.30.10, is broken down into 5 Classification Numbers by adding the pairs of digits, 10, 20, 30, 40, 90, respectively. These are known as first level Classification Numbers.

The second Tariff Item shown, 8413.30.90 breaks down differently. Below the Tariff Item is the Classification Number 8413.30.90.10 with the description, Fuel pumps. This is a first level Classification Number. Below this are the numbers 8413.30.90.11 to 8413.30.90.19, each with a description. These are second level Classification Numbers. Where there are second level Classification Numbers, the first level Classification Number at the top of a group of second level Classification Numbers is simply a Heading for the group of second level Classification Numbers. It cannot itself be used on Customs documents. In many versions of the Tariff, the actual number would not be shown, only the description so that the portion of the Tariff page shown above would appear as follows:

8413.30.90 Other
Fuel pumps 11
For marine engines 12
For locomotive engines 13
For aircraft engines 14
For engines for motor vehicles of Chapter 87 19
For other engines

Similarly, there can be first and second level Subheadings and first and second level Tariff Items.

Another important feature of the Tariff is the dash or series of dashes preceeding the Subheading and Subheading description lines. The following table shows which dash lines correspond to which tariff classification digit.

8413.30.90 Other
Fuel pumps 11
For marine engines 12
For locomotive engines 13
For aircraft engines 14
For engines for motor vehicles of Chapter 87 19
For other engines

Similarly, there can be first and second level Subheadings and first and second level Tariff Items.

Another important feature of the Tariff is the dash or series of dashes preceeding the Subheading and Subheading description lines. The following table shows which dash lines correspond to which tariff classification digit.

Tariff Classification Digit

# of Dash lines
- 5th
-- 6th
--- 7th
---- 8th
----- 9th
------ 10th

When classifying, you must always classify within like description categories that have the same number of dashes. The minimum number of dashes is one; the maximum is 6. [Note: The exceptions to this rule occur when a Heading, Subheading or Tariff Item have no further divisions. That is, a 6-digit item may have a single dash or an 8-digit item may have 2 dashes.]

Example: The product you are classifying is pasta: fresh spaghetti. Using the stylized Tariff page below, the steps involved to arrive at the correct Classification Number (1902.19.90.10) is as follows:

1. First you must decide whether or not you pasta product is uncooked pasta, stuffed pasta or other pasta. (The Headings with a single dash.)
2. Determine that your product is uncooked pasta. From here, you must determine whether or not the pasta contains eggs or falls in the Other category. (The Headings with 2 dashes.)
3. Your product does not contain eggs so it falls in the Other category. From here, you must determine whether or not it is macaroni and vermicelli, containing flour and water only, or Other. (The Headings with 3 dashes.)
4. Since your product is spaghetti, it falls in the Other category. From here, you must determine whether or not the product is fresh, frozen or dried.
5. Your spaghetti is fresh so you select Classification Number 1902.19.90.10.

Tariff Item SS Description of Goods 19.02 Pasta, whether or not cooked or stuffed (with meat or other substances) or otherwise prepared, such as spaghetti, macaroni, noodles, lasagna, gnocchi, ravioli, cannelloni, couscous, whether or not prepared. -Uncooked pasta, not stuffed or otherwise prepared:

1902.11.00 --Containing eggs
    10 -----Fresh
    20 -----Frozen
    30 -----Dried
1902.19 --Other
1902.19.10 ---Macaroni and vermicelli, containing flour and water only
    10 -----Fresh
    20 -----Frozen
    30 -----Dried
1902.19.90 ---Other
    10 -----Fresh
    20 -----Frozen
    30 -----Dried
1902.20.00 -Stuffed pasta, whether or not cooked or otherwise prepared
    10 -----In air-tight containers
    90 -----Other
1902.30 -Other pasta
1902.30.10 ---Without meal
    10 -----In air-tight containers
    90 -----Other

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