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What is the tariff code? View our complete guide

Business · 9 Mins Read

What is the tariff code? View our complete guide

Importing and exporting goods into Malaysia and working with the country’s customs almost always come with cumbersome processes and paperwork. Every country, Malaysia included, requires businesses to declare the trade goods using an important identifier: HS code.

To ensure a smooth logistical operation, understanding HS codes is a must. Here, we’ll give you a quick overview of how these tariff codes work as well as how to read and determine the HS codes for your goods.

Commodity codes explained

Tariff codes refer to a product-specific code documented in the Harmonised System (HS), otherwise known as Harmonised Tariff System (HTS). These numbers exist for almost every product involved in global commerce. While it may not be necessary for all international shipments, a tariff code is, however, required on official shipping documents for tax assessment purposes. This serves as the basis for the import and export classification system, ensuring uniformity of product classification worldwide. Besides applying tariffs and duty rates, HS codes can also be used to demonstrate custom competency, declare permits and rules of origin of goods, and collect trade statistics.

The HS assigns specific codes for varying classifications and commodities, with most of them ranging from six to ten digits long. The more digits a tariff code has, the more specific the product classification. Those with a string of less than six digits are referred to as partial tariff codes, representing a broad product category or chapter of products as opposed to a specific classification.

Import and export tariffs in Malaysia

It’s worth noting that Malaysia follows two HS code classifications: HTS and ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN). Besides the standard HTS, Malaysia also follows the AHTN for imported and exported goods originating specifically from any of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Malaysia’s tariffs are typically imposed on an ad valorem basis, which means that the taxes levied on imported and exported goods will be in accordance with the property’s value as determined by an assessment or appraisal. When it comes to imported goods, you can expect the tariff rate to be anywhere from 0% to 50%, with the average rate being 6.1% for industrial goods. That said, Malaysian customs apply higher tariff rates for specific duties that either have a considerably high domestic production rate or are considered ‘sinful’ goods, such as pork, wine, and alcohol. On the other hand, raw materials for use in manufacturing exported goods may be subjected to either a reduced tariff or a tariff exemption altogether.

As for exported goods, Malaysia customs apply a tariff between 0% to 10%, following the same ad valorem rates. In addition, according to Malaysia’s Customs Act (1976), companies may get a 90% refund on tariffs paid for exported goods originally sourced from their imported counterparts.

The breakdown of an HS code

Every HTS code has a layer-by-layer structure, broken down into five different sections to represent the respective categories: chapters, headings, subheadings, subheadings (tariff rate lines), and statistical suffixes. The first six digits are the HS number under the international HS, while the last four digits (if any) are specific to the country.

Chapter: The first two digits identify the chapter in the HS.

Heading: The next two digits represent the heading within the said chapter in the HS.

Subheading: The next two digits identify the subheading within the heading.

Subheading (tariff rate lines): These two digits establish the duty rates, and are specific to Malaysia.

Statistical suffixes: The last two digits are statistical suffixes used to collect trade data. Similarly, these digits are specific to Malaysia.

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Below is overview of the 21 sections of the HS Code:

SECTION I


LIVE ANIMALS; ANIMAL PRODUCTS

Section Notes.

0100-2022E

Live animals.

0101-2022E

Meat and edible meat offal.

0102-2022E

Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates.

0103-2022E

Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.

0104-2022E

Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.

0105-2022E

SECTION II


VEGETABLE PRODUCTS

Section Note.

0200-2022E

Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage.

0206-2022E

Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers.

0207-2022E

Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons.

0208-2022E

Coffee, tea, maté and spices.

0209-2022E

Cereals.

0210-2022E

Products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten.

0211-2022E

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruit; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder.

0212-2022E

Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts.

0213-2022E

Vegetable plaiting materials; vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included.

0214-2022E

SECTION III


ANIMAL, VEGETABLE OR MICROBIAL FATS AND OILS AND THEIR CLEAVAGE PRODUCTS; PREPARED EDIBLE FATS; ANIMAL OR VEGETABLE WAXES

Animal, vegetable or microbial fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes.

0315-02022E

SECTION IV


PREPARED FOODSTUFFS; BEVERAGES, SPIRITS AND VINEGAR; TOBACCO AND MANUFACTURED TOBACCO SUBSTITUTES; PRODUCTS, WHETHER OR NOT CONTAINING NICOTINE, INTENDED FOR INHALATION WITHOUT COMBUSTION; OTHER NICOTINE CONTAINING PRODUCTS INTENDED FOR THE INTAKE OF NICOTINE INTO THE HUMAN BODY

Section Note.

0400-2022E

Preparations of meat, of fish, of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates, or of insects.

0416-2022E

Sugars and sugar confectionery.

0417-2022E

Cocoa and cocoa preparations.

0418-2022E

Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; pastrycooks' products.

0419-2022E

Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants.

0420-2022E

Miscellaneous edible preparations.

0421-2022E

Beverages, spirits and vinegar.

0422-2022E

Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal fodder.

0423-2022E

Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes; products, whether or not containing nicotine, intended for inhalation without combustion; other nicotine containing products intended for the intake of nicotine into the human body.

0424-2022E

SECTION V


MINERAL PRODUCTS

Salt; sulphur; earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement.

0525-2022E

Ores, slag and ash.

0526-2022E

Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes.

0527-2022E

SECTION VI


PRODUCTS OF THE CHEMICAL OR ALLIED INDUSTRIES

Section Notes.

0600-2022E

Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, of rare-earth metals, of radioactive elements or of isotopes.

0628-2022E

Organic chemicals.

0629-2022E

Pharmaceutical products.

0630-2022E

Fertilisers.

0631-2022E

Tanning or dyeing extracts; tannins and their derivatives; dyes, pigments and other colouring matter; paints and varnishes; putty and other mastics; inks.

0632-2022E

Essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations.

0633-2022E

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.

0634-2022E

Albuminoidal substances; modified starches; glues; enzymes.

0635-2022E

Explosives; pyrotechnic products; matches; pyrophoric alloys; certain combustible preparations.

0636-2022E

Photographic or cinematographic goods.

0637-2022E

Miscellaneous chemical products.

0638-2022E

SECTION VII


PLASTICS AND ARTICLES THEREOF; RUBBER AND ARTICLES THEREOF

Section Notes.

0700-2022E

Plastics and articles thereof.

0739-2022E

Rubber and articles thereof.

0740-2022E

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)

Raw hides and skins (other than furskins) and leather.

0841-2022E

Articles of leather; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silk-worm gut).

0842-2022E

Furskins and artificial fur; manufactures thereof.

0843-2022E

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

Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal.

0844-2022E

Cork and articles of cork.

0845-2022E

Manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basketware and wickerwork.

0846-2022E

SECTION X


PULP OF WOOD OR OF OTHER FIBROUS CELLULOSIC MATERIAL; RECOVERED (WASTE AND SCRAP) PAPER OR PAPERBOARD; PAPER AND PAPERBOARD AND ARTICLES THEREOF

Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; recovered (waste and scrap) paper or paperboard.

0847-2022E

Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard.

0848-2022E

Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans.

0849-2022E

SECTION XI


TEXTILES AND TEXTILE ARTICLES

Section Notes.

1100-2022E

Silk.

1150-2022E

Wool, fine or coarse animal hair; horsehair yarn and woven fabric.

1151-2022E

Cotton.

1152-2022E

Other vegetable textile fibres; paper yarn and woven fabrics of paper yarn.

1153-2022E

Man-made filaments; strip and the like of man-made textile materials.

1154-2022E

Man-made staple fibres.

1155-2022E

Wadding, felt and nonwovens; special yarns; twine, cordage, ropes and cables and articles thereof.

1156-2022E

Carpets and other textile floor coverings.

1157-2022E

Special woven fabrics; tufted textile fabrics; lace; tapestries; trimmings; embroidery.

1158-2022E

Impregnated, coated, covered or laminated textile fabrics; textile articles of a kind suitable for industrial use.

1159-2022E

Knitted or crocheted fabrics.

1160-2022E

Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted.

1161-2022E

Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted.

1162-2022E

Other made up textile articles; sets; worn clothing and worn textile articles; rags.

1163-2022E

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

Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts of such articles.

1264-2022E

Headgear and parts thereof.

1265-2022E

Umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking-sticks, seat-sticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof.

1266-2022E

Prepared feathers and down and articles made of feathers or of down; artificial flowers; articles of human hair.

1267-2022E

SECTION XIII


ARTICLES OF STONE, PLASTER, CEMENT, ASBESTOS, MICA OR SIMILAR MATERIALS; CERAMIC PRODUCTS; GLASS AND GLASSWARE

Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials.

1368-2022E

Ceramic products.

1369-2022E

Glass and glassware.

1370-2022E

SECTION XIV


NATURAL OR CULTURED PEARLS, PRECIOUS OR SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES, PRECIOUS METALS, METALS CLAD WITH PRECIOUS METAL AND ARTICLES THEREOF; IMITATION JEWELLERY; COIN

Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewellery; coin.

1471-2022E

SECTION XV


BASE METALS AND ARTICLES OF BASE METAL

Section Notes.

1500-2022E

Iron and steel.

1572-2022E

Articles of iron or steel.

1573-2022E

Copper and articles thereof.

1574-2022E

Nickel and articles thereof.

1575-2022E

Aluminium and articles thereof.

1576-2022E

(Reserved for possible future use in the Harmonized System)

1577-2022E

Lead and articles thereof.

1578-2022E

Zinc and articles thereof.

1579-2022E

Tin and articles thereof.

1580-2022E

Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof.

1581-2022E

Tools, implements, cutlery, spoons and forks, of base metal; parts thereof of base metal.

1582-2022E

Miscellaneous articles of base metal.

1583-2022E

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

Section Notes.

1600-2022E

Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof.

1684-2022E

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.

1685-2022E

SECTION XVII

VEHICLES, AIRCRAFT, VESSELS AND ASSOCIATED TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT

Section Notes.

1700-2022E

Railway or tramway locomotives, rolling-stock and parts thereof; railway or tramway track fixtures and fittings and parts thereof; mechanical (including electro-mechanical) traffic signalling equipment of all kinds.

1786-2022E

Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling-stock, and parts and accessories thereof.

1787-2022E

Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof.

1788-2022E

Ships, boats and floating structures.

1789-2022E

SECTION XVIII


OPTICAL, PHOTOGRAPHIC, CINEMATOGRAPHIC, MEASURING, CHECKING, PRECISION, MEDICAL OR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS AND APPARATUS; CLOCKS AND WATCHES; MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS;

Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof.

1890-2022E

Clocks and watches and parts thereof.

1891-2022E

Musical instruments; parts and accessories of such articles.

1892-2022E

SECTION XIX


ARMS AND AMMUNITION; PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF

Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof.

1993-2022E

SECTION XX


MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES

Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings; luminaires and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated name-plates and the like; prefabricated buildings.

2094-2022E

Toys, games and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof.

2095-2022E

Miscellaneous manufactured articles.

2096-2022E

SECTION XXI


WORKS OF ART, COLLECTORS' PIECES AND ANTIQUES

Works of art, collectors' pieces and antiques.

2197-2022E

Source: World Customs Organisation

Finding the right HS code

When finding the right HS code, you can always refer to the lists in these individual HTS PDFs or look them up in the HTS search database. The same could be said for AHTN – you can identify the AHTN code in this PDF or this ASEAN Tariff Finder.

If you’re still having trouble navigating the tariffs and trade policies, DHL Express can help! Apply for a DHL Express account and we’ll not only help you not only guide you through the ins and outs of logistics, but also provide you with all the support and expertise you need to grow your business internationally.

For more information about the HS Code and how you can obtain a code for a product in Malaysia, head over to our FAQ section. 

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