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General Interpretative Rule 6

General Interpretative Rule 6

  • “For legal purposes, 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, mutatis mutandis, to the above Rules, 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 otherwise requires.”
    1. Rules 1 to 5 govern, mutatis mutandis classification at subheading levels with the same heading.
    2. For the purposes of Rule 6, the following expressions have the meanings hereby assigned to them:
  •  “Subheading at the same level”: one- dash subheadings (level 1) or two-dash subheadings (level 2). 
  • Thus, when considering the relative merits of two or more one-dash subheadings within a single heading in the context of Rule 3 (a), their specificity or kinship in relation to a given article is to be assessed solely on the basis of the texts of the competing one-dash subheadings. 
  • When the one-dash subheading that is most specific has been chosen and when that subheading is itself subdivided, then, and only then, shall the texts of the two- dash subheadings be taken into consideration for determining which two-dash subheading should be selected.
  •  “Unless the context otherwise requires”: except where Section or Chapter Notes are incompatible with subheading texts or Subheading Notes.

Student Learning Activities

An exporter of wooden office tables did not indicate the classification numbers in the export documents. The tables were imported by the Education related stakeholder to be supplied in primary schools. An authorised Customs agent declared the imported tables by HS Code 4421.99.90 — as other articles of wood for clearance at the border post. Subsequently, a Customs officer (at a border post) challenged the classification and rejected the declaration with reasons of misclassification.

The owner of imported tables filed an objection to the Commissioner of Customs claiming that his classification was done by an authorised customs agent on the basis of the East African Customs Union Common External Tariff (EACU, CET). The commissioner assigns this task to you to study the case and advise him on how to settle this matter.


  1. Identify the appropriate principle of classification governing the classification of the above-mentioned product
  2. Determine the applicable of legal notes for the classification of the above-mentioned product 
  3. Determine the correct classification of wooden table.

Solution for Case Study 

  • The principles of classification (GIR 1&6) are applicable for the classification of goods in question. According to these rules, goods are legally classified according to the terms of headings and subheadings respectively. In addition, relative sections, chapter Notes are to be considered if terms of headings and subheadings do not describe the goods in question.
  • In this case the goods are identified on the basis of their materials as articles of wood. These articles are referred to section IX titled as Wood and Articles of Wood; —-, and to chapter 44 titled as Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal.
  • The terms of headings and subheadings under chapter 44, do not provide specific descriptions of the goods and therefore an Exclusion Notes apply. Note 1(0) to chapter 44 excludes wooden furniture from being classified in chapter 44 but to be classified in chapter 94 at heading 94.03 (GIR1) and subheading 9403.30.00 – Wooden furniture of a kind used in offices (GIR 6)


  1. Discuss the meaning of general rules 
  2. Explain the importance of the general rules in classifying goods
  3. State the Six General rules of classifying goods and their scope