While taxes alone are not damning, as taxes, like death, are one of the only two certainties in life, tariffs, on the other hand, are one of the ongoing nightmares of the Procurement world. Tariffs make the complete personal income tax code of the United States look like a kindergarten book.
For example, the current HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) of the United States is 3,536 pages. And that’s just the US HTS code. The 2007 LIGIE for Mexico is 684 pages, and there have been hundreds of pages of amendments since then.
With 196 countries in the world today, extrapolating, that’s over 200,000 pages of HTS / HS (Harmonized System Code) classifications that an organization needs to be on top off to determine international import and export duty rates. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not just keeping track of rates, it’s figuring out the rates that apply. For example, let’s say you want gloves, is it:
4007.11.70 Leather - full grains - glove and garment 4017.12.70 Leather - split grain - glove and garment 4107.19.70 Leather - whole hide - glove and garment 4017.91.70 Leather - other - glove and garment .. 4023.10.40 Apparel - articles - gloves, mittens and mitts 4203.29.XX Apparel - cowhide - gloves .. 6116.10.08 Gloves - coated - other .. 6116.92.08 Gloves - cotton - other .. 6116.93.08 Gloves - synthetic - other .. 6116.99.35 Gloves - other textile - other .. 6216.00.08 Gloves - impregnated - other ..
there are so many (dozens upon dozens of) classification of gloves, that it’s hard to find the right one – and if you pick the wrong one, and especially if you pick the wrong one with a lower tariff rate, then your organization is at risk of significant fines and penalties.
So how do you deal with this? There’s only one way — get a trade market intelligence solution which is kept up to date by people around the globe as classification updates and rate changes come up and easily searchable by the average Procurement professional who is not an expert in H(T)S code structures. There aren’t a lot of options, but SI recently covered one company, Integration Point, that has been building such a solution for almost 10 years. Why do you need a third party? Integration Point, which maintains a global content team, made over 2 Million updates to their global H(T)S code database in 2014 in an attempt to keep up with the never ending string of updates that are regularly released by countries around the globe. (Some countries release updates on a weekly basis. For example, Brazil once updated its HS code 80 times in one year.)