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What is the Singapore HS code of a product?
All products being imported to and exported from Singapore need to be declared to Singapore Customs. In order to make the declaration to Singapore Customs, an HS code must be assigned to each item. The HS code is a number that gives Customs authorities a general idea of what the product is. The HS code is an 8 digit number, of which the first 6 digits follow in the format of WCO’s harmonized system nomenclature.
It is the importer’s responsibility to ensure that the correct HS code is declared to Singapore Customs.
What is the purpose of the HS code?
The HS code is important for many reasons. Customs authorities will determine all applicable excise and import duties using the HS code declared. Competent Authorities will decide on licensing requirements by referring to the HS code. Using the wrong HS code on an import declaration can result in penalties and fines being imposed by Customs authorities. If traders fail to meet licensing requirements due to wrong HS codes being used for import, they could also find themselves facing penalties and fines from competent authorities.
How do I find my HS code?
HS classification is done according to the rules of classification published by the World Customs Organization. There are six rules of classification. HS code determination is unfortunately not entirely intuitive and it is not possible to simply use common sense to classify articles. There are several ways for traders to get the right HS codes for their goods:
- Apply for an HS classification ruling from Singapore Customs
- Seek the help of trade compliance professionals to classify their products
- Seek the help of an experienced Customs broker
- Classify products themselves if they have knowledge of how to use the rules correctly
Regardless of who determines the HS code for the cargo, the liability of using wrong classifications always finally rests with the importer.
We cover the HS classification process extensively in another article.
Singapore Customs also provides many resources for traders to refer to when trying to determine the correct HS code for their products, such as records of HS classification rulings. Unfortunately, the HS classification database available on the Singapore Customs website has limited records for reference.
For any trader doing HS classification in Singapore, a robust toolkit should include:
- US Customs rulings database. This would be a good reference point (note: no legal bearing in Singapore). It contains almost every ruling issued by the US.
- Singapore Ruling database.
- HS product code search.
Are HS and HTS the same?
Yes, HS and HTS codes refer to the same thing. In fact, HS codes can be referred to by many other names…
- HS codes
- HTS codes
- HSN numbers
- Tariff codes
- Tariff classifications
- HS classifications
- Many others
What is the export Singapore HS code?
In the context of Singapore, the import and export HS code for an item would be the same number.
A final note
It is important to get the HS classification of products correct. A wrong HS code can lead to a myriad of problems for the importer or exporter. HSN audits are an important part of any trade compliance program for companies in Singapore and should not be overlooked. Using the wrong HS code can also result in disadvantages such as not being able to claim FTA benefits in other countries, for made in Singapore products.
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