The HTS -- Supplement Issued in July

The USITC in July posted on its website a supplement to the 2009 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS).

The USITC is charged with maintaining the HTS, a classification system for products imported into the United States. The HTS plays a critical role in international trade. Using a hierarchical structure, the HTS describes all goods in trade for duty, quota, and statistical purposes. It provides the basis for the classification by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of every product that enters the United States, which determines the rate of duty the importer must pay.

The HTS changes regularly as a result of congressional legislation or a Presidential proclamation. A few examples of actions that would require an update of the HTS include new trade agreements, modifications to existing trade agreements or preference programs (such as the Generalized System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, the Andean Trade Preference Act, and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act), and changes in the global Harmonized System (upon which the U.S. HTS is based).

Maintaining the HTS is no small task. An annual edition of the HTS is released each December. Generally, the USITC also issues a hard-copy supplement in July that reflects any changes required by events (trade agreements entering into force, modifications to existing FTAs or preference programs, etc.) since the annual edition was published. In addition, there are usually several online revisions each year.

HTS users who purchase a printed edition of the HTS from the Government Printing Office (GPO) should receive at no extra charge updated supplement pages when they are published. Such users should check with the GPO if they have questions.

The electronic HTS posted on the USITC web site is immediately updated when supplements or revisions are published. The changes resulting from the supplement or revision are outlined in the Preface of the updated edition, and details of all changes are noted in the edition's Change Record.

Questions? Please contact the Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements (202-205-2592).

-- posted August 18, 2009