The US Schedule B is the official schedule of commodity classifications to be used by shippers in reporting export shipments from the United States. It is used to compile official statistics on exports of merchandise from the United States.
Tariff Codes for Export
The export commodity classification system reflects the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System). As such, it is divided into 97 chapters grouped into 22 sections. Exports classified according to this system are assigned a 10 digit code. These 10 digit HS codes break down like this:
The Harmonized System is also used for classifying imports. The importing system is called the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The first six digits of commodity codes in the HTS and the Schedule B are identical for chapters 1 through 97. Beyond the six-digit level, the code may be different in the HTS and Schedule B. The HTS sometimes contains additional import classifications. For example, the following is an HTS classification that is similar to the previous Schedule B code, except for the designation that the horse is a male:
Because of the similarities, HTS codes can often be used in lieu of a Schedule B code in most cases. The exceptions to this are outlined in the Introduction to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under “Notice to Exporters”. The special prefix symbols used in the HTS denote special tariff treatment, and should not be included when classifying exports.
Assigning a Schedule B Code
The Definitions and General and U.S. Rules of Interpretation, as well as the notes appearing in the sections and chapters of the Schedule B, should be reviewed before attempting to locate the correct commodity number. After reading all pertinent section, chapter, and statistical notes, the exporter should compare 4‐digit headings within the appropriate chapter to narrow down to the most accurate one. Beneath the headings are 6‐digit subheadings to choose from, again selecting the closest match to the product. Finally, assign the most appropriate 10‐digit Schedule B number.
Schedule B GRI and Additional US Rule of Interpretation
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) and the Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation for Schedule B are listed below. Only minor differences in wording are found in the HTSUS General Rules of Interpretation.
General Rules of Interpretation
Classification of goods in Schedule B shall be governed by the following principles:
- The titles of sections and chapters are provided for ease of reference only. Classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and relative section or chapter notes and, unless such headings or notes have additional requirements, according to the following provisions:
- Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also be taken to include a reference to the article complete or finished (or failing to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), exported or disassembled.
- Any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances. Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule number 3.
- When, by application of rule 2b or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:
- The heading that provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to parts only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to parts only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.
- Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3a, shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component that gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.
- When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3a or 3b, they shall be classified under the heading that occurs last in numerical order among those that equally merit consideration.
- Goods that cannot be classified in accordance with the above rules shall be classified under the heading appropriate to the goods to which they are most akin.
- In addition to the foregoing provisions, the following rules shall apply with respect ofthe goods referred to therein:
- Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, suitable for long‐term use and exported with the articles for while they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. The rule does not, however, apply to containers that give the whole its essential character.
- Subject to the provisions of rule 5a, packing materials and packing containers exported with the goods therein shall be classified with goods if they are of a kind normally used for packing such goods. However, this provision does not apply when packing materials or packing containers are clearly suitable for repetitive use.
- The classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes; and the classification of goods shall be based on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. For the purposes of this rule, the relative section and chapter notes also apply, unless the context dictates otherwise.
- In the absence of special language or context that dictates otherwise,
- A Schedule B classification controlled by use is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of exportation of articles of that class or kind to which the exported articles belong, and the controlling use is the principal use, i.e., the use that exceeds all other uses.
- A provision for parts of an article covers products solely or principally used as a part of such articles, but a provision for “parts” or “parts and accessories” shall not prevail over a specific provision for such part or accessory.
- Provisions covering goods of named textile materials cover goods that are of textile materials and that would be regarded as consisting wholly of that named textile material, as determined in accordance with note 2 to section XI for products classified in chapters 50 to 55 and consisting of the same textile materials, and in the same proportion, as the exported products.
Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation
Schedule B Reporting Requirements
There are several special reporting requirements outlined in the introduction to the Schedule B. They include instructions on how to deal with the following situations:
- The Schedule B code description carries the limitation “Not Elsewhere Specified or Included (n.e.s.o.i)
- Two units of quantity are specified in the “Unit of Quantity” column
- Shipping containers exported as merchandise
- Donated goods for relief or charity
- Reporting the Value of Repairs and Alterations
- Export of Articles Previously Imported for Processing
The majority of these cases require classification under Chapter 98 of the Schedule B.
Descartes Customs Info™
The US Schedule B is included in the standard subscription to Descartes Customs Info™. To browse the Schedule B, go to the “CI Search” tab and click on the book icon to the right of the “US Schedule B Export tables” listing.
To search the Schedule B, go to the “CI Search” tab and type in a search query in the Keywords box at the top of the page. Press enter or click on the “search” button to perform the search. If there are any results for your keywords, a hyperlinked number will display the number of results to the right of the “US Schedule B Export tables” listing. Click on the number (if there are any results) to jump to a list of occurrences.