The primary division of goods in the Tariff is into Sections and Chapters. At the International Level, there are 21 Sections in all, comprising 97 Chapters.
In the United States, the last section, Section 22 contains two chapters (98 and 99) that are particular to the United States and cover special provisions and conditions. Other countries have adopted a similar approach and include chapters 98 and 99.
Note however, that the provisions and conditions can differ substantially.
In the U.S., Chapter 98 covers such articles and types of import conditions as:
- American goods returned (9801)
- United States Merchandise assembled abroad (9802)
- Temporary importations (9813)
- Personal baggage (9804)
- Military Departments (9808)
- Articles for Religious Institutions (9810)
- Samples (9811)
- Certain unwrought Metals (9817)
- Free trade (duty preference) provisions
Chapter 99 highlights:
- Temporary legislation affecting duty rates
- Punitive retaliatory tariffs
- Safeguard Measures affecting agricultural products
Sections I through IV contain the majority of animal and plant products. This group of Sections provides a good illustration of the classification logic used throughout the Harmonized System. These Sections, taken together, deal with a broad commodity grouping. The basic commodities themselves, in their raw or moderately processed state are covered in the first two Sections. More processed products are dealt with in the next two Sections.
Within the Sections that contain more than one Chapter, the Chapters are also defined according to further commodity specification and degree of processing.
Section I: Live animals; animal products
Section I deals with the classification of living animals and their primary products. The following Chapters are included:
- Live animals.
- Meat and edible meat offal.
- Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates.
- Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.
- Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.
Section II: Vegetable products
Section II covers vegetable products progressing from live plants to highly processed or specialized plant products. It includes the following Chapters:
- Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage.
- Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers.
- Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons.
- Coffee, tea, mate and spices.
- Products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten.
- Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruit; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder.
- Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts.
- Vegetable plaiting materials; vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included.
Section III: Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes
In Section III is found a specialized group of animal and vegetable products, the fats and oils. Its one Chapter is entitled:
- Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes.
Section IV: Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, spirits and vinegar; tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes
This Section deals with animal and vegetable products, other than the fats and oils specified above, that have been prepared beyond preliminary processing steps. Most, but not all, are edible or consumable. The Chapters in this Section are as follows:
- Preparations of meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates.
- Sugars and sugar confectionary.
- Cocoa and cocoa preparations.
- Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; pastrycooks' products.
- Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants.
- Miscellaneous edible preparations.
- Beverages, spirits and vinegar.
- Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal fodder.
- Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes.
Section V: Mineral products
In Section V are grouped products taken from the earth through mining or similar processes that are, for the most part in a relatively unprocessed state.
These form the raw materials used in the industries that produce many of the products found in subsequent sections. The Chapters included are:
- Salt; sulphur; earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement.
- Ores, slag and ash.
- Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes.
Chemical and Related Products
The next two Sections are related in that Section VI covers the chemical industry and its products;
Section VII deals with the rubber and plastics industries which are closely related to the chemical industry.
Section VI: Products of the chemical or allied industries
This is a relatively large Section, comprising 11 Chapters. Chapters 28 and 29 deal with chemicals and chemical compounds. The remaining Chapters classify the finished products of the chemical and allied industries, according to relatively straightforward categories. The Chapter titles are as follows:
- Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, of rare earth metals, of radioactive elements or of isotopes.
- Organic chemicals.
- Pharmaceutical products.
- Tanning or dyeing extracts; tannins and their derivatives; dyes, pigments and other colouring matter; paints and varnishes; putty and other mastics; inks.
- Essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations.
- Soap, organic surface-active agents, washing preparations, lubricating preparations, artificial waxes, prepared waxes, polishing or scouring preparations, candles and similar articles, modelling pastes, "dental waxes" and dental preparations with a basis of plaster.
- Albuminoidal substances; modified starches; glues; enzymes.
- Explosives; pyrotechnic products; matches; pyrophoric alloys; certain combustible preparations.
- Photographic or cinematographic goods.
- Miscellaneous chemical products.
Section VII: Plastics and articles thereof; rubber and articles thereof
The following Chapters are included in this Section:
- Plastics and articles thereof.
- Rubber and articles thereof.
Non - Consumable Animal and Plant Products
The next 3 Sections seem to be a bit out of order in that they go back to the animal and plant kingdoms to deal with leather and wood products respectively.
Section VIII: Raw hides and skins, leather, furskins and articles thereof; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silk-worm gut)
This Section includes raw hides, skins and furskins, articles made from furskins, saddle and harness items and travel goods such as luggage and handbags. Note that although most products in the Section are based on animal skins,
some products which serve the same purpose as articles traditionally made from these raw materials but which are made of other materials,
are also included. Examples include artificial fur and some kinds of non-leather luggage and handbags. On the other hand, some leather articles such as shoes and furniture are not covered in this Section.
Three Chapters are covered by this Section:
- Raw hides and skins (other than furskins) and leather.
- Articles of leather; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silkworm gut).
- Furskins and artificial fur; manufactures thereof.
Forestry and related products are covered by the next two Sections.
Section IX: Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal; cork and articles of cork; manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basketware and wickerwork
In this Section are grouped products made of wood and a few other related plant materials. The Chapters are as follows:
- Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal.
- Cork and articles of cork.
- Manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basketware and wickerwork.
Section X: Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard; paper and paperboard and articles thereof
This Section is concerned with products made of wood pulp and fiber. The following Chapters are included:
- Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard.
- Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard.
- Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans.
Textiles and Apparel
The next two Sections deal with textile fibres, textiles, wearing apparel and related personal accessories.
Section XI: Textiles and textile articles
The textile and textile products Section is a large one due to the variety of such products and the volume of international trade due to them. Further breakdown is based on the raw materials used and degree of manufacture. The Chapter titles are as follows:
- Wool, fine or coarse animal hair; horsehair yarn and woven fabric.
- Other vegetable textile fibres; paper yarn and woven fabrics of paper yarn.
- Man-made filaments.
- Man-made staple fibres.
- Wadding, felt and nonwovens; special yarns; twine, cordage, ropes and cables and articles thereof.
- Carpets and other textile floor coverings.
- Special woven fabrics; tufted textile fabrics; lace; tapestries; trimmings; embroidery.
- Impregnated, coated, covered or laminated textile fabrics; textile articles of a kind suitable for industrial use.
- Knitted or crocheted fabrics.
- Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted.
- Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted.
- Other made up textile articles; sets; worn clothing and worn textile articles; rags.
Section XII: Footwear, headgear, umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking-sticks, seat-sticks, whips, riding crops and parts thereof; prepared feathers and articles made therewith; artificial flowers; articles of human hair
This Section is concerned with articles of apparel that are not considered clothing. It includes the following Chapters:
- Footwear, gaiters and the like, parts of such articles.
- Headgear and parts thereof.
- Umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking sticks, seat sticks, whips, riding crops and parts thereof.
- Prepared feathers and down and articles made of feathers or of down; artificial flowers; articles of human hair.
Non - Metallic Mineral Products
Section XIII: Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials; ceramic products; glass and glassware
This Section covers articles made from non-metallic minerals. The Chapter titles are as follows:
- Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials.
- Ceramic products.
- Glass and glassware.
Metals and Manufactured Articles Made Mostly of Metal
Sections XIV through XIX form a very important progression. They deal with the huge number of products made largely from metals.
Section XIV: Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewelry; coin
Precious metals, jewels and related products stand alone and are covered in the one Chapter of this Section:
- Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewelry; coin.
Section XV: Base metal and articles of base metal
Section XV takes the more common metals from their primary forms, through semi-manufactures as far as tools and implements. Note that chapter 77 is not used in either the International Nomenclature or the Canadian Tariff at the present time.
- Iron and steel.
- Articles of iron or steel.
- Copper and articles thereof.
- Nickel and articles thereof.
- Aluminum and articles thereof.
- (Reserved for possible future use in the Harmonized System)
- Lead and articles thereof.
- Zinc and articles thereof.
- Tin and articles thereof.
- Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof.
- Tools, implements, cutlery, spoons and forks, of base metal; parts thereof of base metal.
- Miscellaneous articles of base metal.
Section XVI: Machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment; parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles
This is the first of three Sections dealing with highly complex products made largely of metals. Even though it is a huge Section, there are only 2 Chapters, the first dealing with non-electrical machinery and the second with electrical machinery:
- Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof.
- Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles.
Section XVII: Vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment
The specialized machinery for the transportation sector has its own Section. The Chapters are as follows:
- Railway or tramway locomotives, rolling stock and parts thereof; railway or tramway track fixtures and fitting or parts thereof; mechanical (including electro-mechanical) traffic signalling equipment of all kinds.
- Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling-stock, and parts and accessories thereof.
- Aircraft, spacecraft and parts thereof.
- Ships, boats and floating structures.
Section XVIII: Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; clocks and watches; musical instruments; parts and accessories thereof
This is another highly specialized Section, comprising the following Chapters:
- Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof.
- Clocks and watches and parts thereof.
- Musical instruments; parts and accessories of such articles.
Section XIX: Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof
This is another very specialized Section, the title of whose one Chapter is quite self-explanatory:
- Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof.
Other Highly Manufactured and Special - Purpose Goods
The next two Sections cover a variety of types of goods that did not fit into any of the other Sections.
Section XX: Miscellaneous manufactured articles
It is hard to characterize the products in this Section. Most are highly manufactured, usually made of a mixture of materials. Many are consumer products. The Chapters included in this section are:
- Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated name-plates and the like; prefabricated buildings.
- Toys, games and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof.
- Miscellaneous manufactured articles.
Section XXI: Works of art, collectors' pieces and antiques
Only the first Chapter in this Section reflects the Section title. The next one, Chapter 98, is used for "special classification provisions". These refer to importations of goods for very specialized purposes such as commercial samples,
medals and trophies won abroad, articles imported for public museums or schools. Note that Chapter 99 is not used in the Canadian system.
- Works of art, collectors' pieces and antiques.
- Special classification provisions.
- (Reserved for special uses by Contracting Parties)