Topic 1, Sub-Topic 1
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Grouping of Goods at Headings and Subheadings Levels

Grouping of Goods at Headings and Subheadings Levels

  • There are 1224 heading numbers (Harmonized System 2017 version). Headings are denoted by the first four digits. Headings are arranged according to the Degree of manufacture or processing for example

  • Within a Chapter

Article Heading Stage of processing

Logs 44.01          Raw Materials

Railway Sleepers 44.06         Semi-finished 

Wooden frames 44.18         Finished product

Statuettes of wood 44.20          Finished product


Between Chapters

Live trees 06.02 Raw material

Logs of wood 44.01 Raw material

Pulp of wood (chemical) 47.03 Semi – finished

Newsprint paper 48.01           Semi – finished 

Newspaper 49.02 Finished product

Structure of the Heading and Subheading in the Harmonized System

  • The terms of headings are separated by punctuation marks which are: comma (,) and semicolon (;)
  • Commas (,) refer to distributive of terms following the item they are referring to. 
    • For example, in heading 03.06 Crustaceans, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine. While semicolon (;) separates the terms of heading into parts of different scopes. For example, in the same heading 03.06 fresh crustaceans and smoked crustaceans are separated by semicolon (;
  • For specific goods, the heading has to split into subheadings to accommodate the most specific description of goods. The subdivisions of headings are represented by one dash (-)

Sub Chapters in the Harmonized System

    • A chapter may be sub divided into two or more sub-Chapters to clarify and underline the differences between products in the same Chapter. Such classes of goods that are arranged according to their characteristics, level of processing, or to a combination thereof, are provided for in Chapter 28, 29, 39,63,69,71 and 72. 


    • Chapter 71 “Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metal clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewellery; coin” is divided into three sub-Chapters:

    Sub-chapter I Natural or cultured pearls and precious or semi-precious

    Sub-chapter II precious metal and metals clad with precious metals

    Sub-chapter III Jewellery; goldsmiths’ & silversmiths’ wares and other articles

Student Learning Activities


  1. Identify the 21 Sections in the HS and indicate their focus and objectives


  • What is the role of each component in the structure of the HS?
  • How are internationally traded goods arranged in the HS?
  • Why is it important for Customs officers and Customs agents to understand the pattern arrangement of goods in the HS?
  • What is the meaning of the word “other” as used in the HS Nomenclature?