Rules for interpreting HSN Code
THE GENERAL RULES FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF IMPORT TARIFF
Classification of goods in this Schedule shall be governed by the following principles:
1. The titles of Sections, Chapters and sub-chapters are provided for ease of reference only; for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes and, provided such headings or Notes do not otherwise require, according to the following provisions:
2. (a) Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, the incomplete or unfinished articles has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also be taken to include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), presented unassembled or disassembled.
(b) Any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances. Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.
3. When by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:
(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.
(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to (a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, in so far as this criterion is applicable.
(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to (a) or (b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.
4. Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with the above rules shall be classified under the heading appropriate to the goods to which they are most akin.
5. In addition to the foregoing provisions, the following rules shall apply in respect of the goods referred to therein:
(a) Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, suitable for long-term use and presented with the articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. This rule does not, however, apply to containers which give the whole its essential character;
(b) Subject to the provisions of (a) above, packing materials and packing containers presented with the goods therein shall be classified with the goods if they are of a kind normally used for packing such goods. However, this provisions does not apply when such packing materials or packing containers are clearly suitable for repetitive use.
6. For legal purposes, the classification of goods in the sub-headings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those sub headings and any related sub headings Notes and, mutatis mutandis, to the above rules, on the understanding that only sub headings 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.
THE GENERAL EXPLANATORY NOTES TO IMPORT TARIFF
1. Where in column (2) of this Schedule, the description of an article or group of articles under a heading is preceded by “-”, the said article or group of articles shall be taken to be a sub-classification of the article or group of articles covered by the said heading. Where, however, the description of an article or group of articles is preceded by “- -”, the said article or group of articles shall be taken to be a sub-classification of the immediately preceding description of the article or group of articles which has “-”. where the description of an article or group of articles is proceded by “—” or “—-“, the said article or group of articles shall be taken to be a sub- classification of the immediately preceding description of the article or group of articles which has “-” or “–“.
2. The abbreviation “%” in any column of this Schedule in relation to the rate of duty indicates that duty on the goods to which the entry relates shall be charged on the basis of the value of the goods as defined in section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), the duty being equal to such percentage of the value as is indicated in that column.
3. In any entry, if no rate of duty is shown in column (5), the rate shown under column (4) shall be applicable.
In this Schedule,—
(1) (a) “heading”, in respect of goods, means a description in list of tariff provisions accompanied by a four-digit number and includes all sub-headings of tariff items the first four-digits of which correspond to that number;
(b) “sub-heading”, in respect of goods, means a description in the list of tariff provisions accompanied by a six-digit number and includes all tariff items the first six-digits of which correspond to that number;
(c) “tariff item” means a description of goods in the list of tariff provisions accompanying eight-digit number and the rate of customs duty;
(2) the list of tariff provisions is divided into Sections, Chapters and Sub-Chapters;
(3) in column (3), the standard unit of quantity is specified for each tariff item to facilitate the collection, comparison and analysis of trade statistics.