Classifying Your Products for International Trade: Plain Talk and Understanding

Martin K. Behr, III
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
10:00 AM PDT | 01:00 PM EDT
90 Minutes

More Trainings by this Expert   Product Id : 503356

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Importers must know how to classify imported products using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

By becoming knowledgeable of the Harmonized System (HS), importers will know how to use the HTSUS properly.

Exporters knowledgeable about the HS will understand how to use The Schedule B (also known as the Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States) properly.

Knowledge of the HTSUS and Schedule B is necessary:

  • To determine applicable import tariff rates and whether a product qualifies for a preferential (that is, reduced or free) tariff under a free trade agreement
  • To permit the accurate filings of import entries with U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • For exporters, to file accurate the Electronic Export Information (EEI) filings with the U.S. Government
  • To accurately complete shipping documents, like import and export invoices
  • To keep importers, exporters, and others in the international supply chain secure and happy
  • To stay out of trouble with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Industry and Security
  • To avoid import and export clearance delays and possible seizures of imported and exported products, as well as the loss of customer good will
  • To avoid costly and aggravating fines and penalties

Why you should Attend: Classification is the process through which imported goods are categorized according to a uniform identification system for the purpose of assessing duty or taxes and/or imposing restrictions upon imports.

Incorrect classification can result, not only in improper duty liability, but also in a change in import requirements or eligibility for duty free programs. Changes in tariff rates can positively or negatively affect the financial viability of a transaction. Fees and taxes are also affected by classification.

While often addressed only after importation, classification should more appropriately be considered during the design, costing, and sourcing of a product.

Classification is also the process through which exported products are categorized according to a uniform identification system for the purpose of identifying them so that exporters can submit required Electronic Export Information (EEI) filings (aka Shippers Export Declarations) through the Automated Export System.

Although there is no duty assessed on exported products, incorrect classification can result in ineligibility for duty free programs in the country to which the items are being exported.

Incorrect classification of imported or exported products can and do result in detentions, seizures, costly fines and penalties with U.S. government agencies like CBP, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Industry and Security. Incorrect classification of products also cost importers and exporters the loss of valuable time and resources, reputation, and client good will.

Simply put, you should attend because it is important to understand how to achieve the most beneficial classifications and stay out of trouble.

Areas Covered in the Session: The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS) consists of ninety-nine chapters, with Chapter 77 being held in reserve for future use.

The first ninety-seven chapters are the international divisions that just about all countries use, and contain the classifications for all foreign-made merchandise. Chapters 98 and 99 are unique to the United States. The 99 chapters are contained in 22 Sections.

Attendees will also learn about the following:
  • Tariff structure (section, chapter, heading, international subdivision, U.S. subdivision)
  • The General Notes
  • The Explanatory Notes
  • Section and Chapter Notes
  • Rates of Duty
  • "Essential Character”and "Eo Nomine"
  • The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs)

Attendees will become familiar with the scary GRIs, all of which will become non-threatening and very useful to you.

Attendees will learn that by understanding the American version of the Harmonized System - that is, the HTSUS - they will have gained mastery of its export counterpart, the Schedule B.

Lastly, attendees will learn how to approach CBP for help with classification determinations (aka binding rulings).

Learning Objectives: Classification of import and export products requires four (4) things:
  • A detailed understanding of your product
  • An understanding of the tariff page
  • An understanding of the language of the Harmonized System
  • An understanding of how to apply the tariff rules and how they will affect your classification

You will learn these things by attending the webinar.

Who Will Benefit:
  • Importers
  • exporters
  • logistics companies
  • including 3PL and 4PLs
  • ocean, air and other freight forwarders
  • Customs Brokers
  • students of international trade
  • warehouse operators
  • FTZ operators
  • trade accountants
  • manufacturers
  • distributors
  • CPAs

Speaker Profile
Martin K.Behr, III is a customs and international trade lawyer admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and the U.S. Court of International Trade. Martin received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University - Newark, Phi Beta Kappa, with high honors; a Master of Public Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University; and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law - Newark. Martin is a distinguished graduate of both the U.S. Law Enforcement Training Center and the U.S. Customs Service Academy. He is also a licensed U.S. Customs Broker (No. 20643), one who worked in the industry for several years.

Martin is a former U.S. Customs officer (senior inspector and import specialist), who was stationed at land (Champlain-Rouses Point, NY), air (JFK International Airport and Newark Liberty) and sea (Newark) ports of entry. While with U.S. Customs at the Port of New York/Newark, he was also a member of the agency's export control branch. Martin is also a former special agent with the U.S. Department of Defense, assistant prosecutor with the Office of Hudson County (NJ) Prosecutor, and an executive with a global FMC-licensed Ocean Transportation Intermediary. Martin was also a trade consultant with Unz & Co. Presently, Martin is an instructor with City University of New York's Baruch College Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS), where he teaches import, export, and other international trade courses. In 2013, Martin received the Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award from Baruch CAPS. Martin has also taught international trade courses at Fashion Institute of Technology and Pace University in New York City. Martin is also of counsel to GRVR Attorneys (, which specializes in customs and international trade matters.

A frequent lecturer before different trade associations around the country, Martin also provides corporate training and seminars concerning customs and international trade issues.

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