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Importing or exporting, the planning of any foreign trade activity should always begin with the accurate classification of the goods involved in the process.

It should be borne in mind that the Goods Nomenclature – called the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, or short for SH – consists of a system adopted worldwide for the purpose of primarily designating goods (ie identifying them, overcoming language barriers) and thus classify them, giving the properties of taxation, origin, import quotas and characterizing them in bilateral or multilateral trade agreements.

All goods are recognized, in any country of the world practically, by the first 6 digits of its classification code. In the particular case of Mercosur, by an 8-digit code. Consequently, in any private contract for the supply of goods to a buyer located in another country (or vice versa), specifying the goods that are the object of transaction by assigning its HS code is an indispensable security measure for buyer and seller initially, and also for carriers, commercial agents, public agents and all other entities involved.

Prior care in correctly classifying imported or exported goods also yields gains in the agility of the entire process, as it avoids unnecessary delays in customs inspection – input and, in some cases, output of the good. Delays in such cases can generate considerable costs from warehousing, expertise and inquiries – all without considering, of course, losses that may be brought about by the delay in the delivery of the products.

It is therefore the suggestion to all those who operate in the Foreign Trade: When negotiating any contract, do not leave the simple task of correctly classifying the goods involved for later. It is an insurance against many problems.

Sérgio de Castro Neves

Foreign Trade