I explored unorthodox methods companies use to find the correct Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for their goods in a previous article. Now, I will outline the best practices your company should use when classifying your products.
There are so many acronyms exporters and importers use every day that it can be overwhelming for those new to our industry to understand what terms mean and how they differ from other terms that sound similar. This is particularly true with LCL shipping.
In today's global supply chain, it's rare for a product to come entirely from one place. Unless you’re a farmer who’s planting seeds grown in the U.S. and harvested from your own land or a miner who's extracting elements from the earth, it’s likely that your goods contain parts from multiple countries or that you make a part that is one piece of a larger good.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you determine which of your parts and finished goods are subject to U.S. export regulations. These regulations might make it illegal for your products to be shipped to certain individuals and organizations or to certain countries. In other cases, you may be required to obtain an export license before you, or another party, can ship the goods to a certain destination.
Importers and exporters know that trade has become part of the lifeblood of the American economy.
The numbers are astounding: 39 million jobs—including 6 million manufacturing positions—depend on trade, according to a 2019 study by Trade Partnership Worldwide. In 2018, American farmers exported $139.6 billion worth of agricultural products. And small- and medium-sized businesses make up 98% of U.S. exporters.
This is largely owing to the buildup of trade relationships with other countries. The United States is currently working on its 15th free trade agreement with its 21st trading partner, and it's hard to imagine a world without these partnerships. But less than a century ago, the landscape looked completely different.
By many measures, China is the largest economy in the world. That makes it an undeniable force in international trade.
Yet, this formidable giant gives many small and midsize exporters pause—U.S. exporter pessimism is evident, especially in light of China’s slowing economic growth, mounting concerns about national security implications of technology supply chains, and U.S. and Chinese retaliatory tariffs.
For years, exports from the United States to Israel would include the green U.S. Certificate of Origin for Exports to Israel form if the goods qualified under the rules of origin of the free trade agreement (FTA). As of April 2018, not only is that form no longer required—it is no longer allowed.
Instead, U.S. exporters or producers of qualifying goods must sign the new U.S. Origin Invoice Declaration. This declaration must appear on a commercial document—typically the commercial invoice.
One of the most basic components of export compliance is often one of the most overlooked: antiboycott regulations. These regulations prohibit U.S. companies from acknowledging or complying with requests from foreign entities to boycott Israel and certain other countries.
Not only do these regulations prohibit U.S. companies from complying with these requests, in some circumstances they require companies to report these requests.
Those of you familiar with the classification process are, without a doubt, veterans of the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), the six international rules that provide instructions for determining the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code for your products.
Those of you new to the process will find these rules printed for you at the beginning of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.