In this third part of our series of articles covering each of the 6 rules for HS Classification, we look at the third general interpretative rule. which is split up into 3 parts. This rule is used to classify products that:

  1. Appear to be classifiable under more than 1 Heading. According to GRI 3(a), the most specific Heading should be used.
  2. However, if the product consists of different components, several items put together in a set or a mixture of chemicals, then according to GRI 3(b), it can be classified according to the aspect of the product that gives it essential character.
  3. According to GRI 3(c), if the components of the product are so specific that and unique that you are not able to determine which one gives it essential character, you can use classify the product based on the Heading of the component that appears last in the nomenclature.

Although sometimes counter intuitive, it can be surprising to see the kinds of products that end up getting classified using GRI 3, especially GRI 3(a). As a large part of HS classification is subjective to an individual’s interpretation of the text and how to apply the rules, it is possible to end up treating even simple products as composite products depending on how the tariff text is interpreted.

Examples of using General Rules of Interpretation/General Interpretative Rules of Classification : Rule 3

According to GRI 3(a), an electric hair clipper may be classified under HS 85102000 in Indonesia as a hair clipper instead of a household appliance.
Using GRI 3(b), a set containing facial cleaning and skincare maintenance products is classified under HS 33049930 in Singapore, if the face cream gives the set essential character.
Using GRI 3(c), a mixture of hazelnuts and peanuts in equal volume may be classified under HS 12024100000  in the Philippines as hazel nuts.
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