Importing into Canada – A Guide to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System

The Harmonized Tariff System (“HTS”) is the universal system to classify goods and commodities, and assign them an import duty (if applicable). The HTS may seem foreboding and intimidating, but with ARGO Customs assisting you through the process, you will soon realize it is merely a collection of rules. Once you understand those rules, it is no more complicated than dissecting a game of hockey or football.

The HTS is responsible for every single good that you want to import into Canada. It must qualify under the HTS for admittance, and you must pay the import duty that it assigns your goods.

The Harmonized Tariff System uses four distinct categories for parts and accessories:

  • (a) accessories or parts that are named in a topic or fall within a general class named in a topic;

  • (b) parts of general purpose which are explained in § XV, Note 2;

  • (c) accessories or parts suitable for use solely or principally with a certain kind of machine or with machines of the same topic; and

  • (d) multi-purpose accessories and parts.

Finally, the fact that an article is “disposable” does not preclude it from being considered as part of another item or as an accessory. 

Properly Importing into Canada

The crucial point under the HTS is to ensure that you classify your commodity or good correctly. If you fail to classify it appropriately, then you risk paying the wrong duty and delaying entry of your good into Canada. ARGO Customs are experienced at identifying the proper classification of goods and can help with importing into Canada.

To illustrate the HTS coding methodology, here are a few examples of “parts of general use.” The HTS combines pipe fittings, tubes, couplings, elbows, sleeves and other tubular connections under 73.07. Similarly, under 73.12 the HTS separates stranded wire, ropes, slings, and plaited bands of iron and steel which are not electrically insulated. That means wires which are designed to conduct electricity are under a different classification. Also consider that the HTS classifies under 73.18, screw, nuts, bolts, rivets, cotters, washers, and other similar articles used to secure things.

As you can see, the HTS follows a predictable path. It classifies products according to their intended use. The HTS does not apply a separate import topic for screws, nails, and washers because these items all accomplish the same basic purpose.

Trust ARGO Customs

ARGO Customs are at the forefront of adopting new technology. If you have a question about importing into Canada, feel free to contact us directly or use the live chat feature to receive an answer within minutes.