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Guide to tariff classification for Canadian imports: Glossary of terms

Advance rulings for tariff classification
Binding rulings, issued under paragraph 43.1(1)(c) of the Customs Act. Advance rulings provide information about specific goods, including their 10-digit tariff classification number.
Customs Tariff Act
An Act that establishes how customs duties are imposed or relived and gives legal effect to the Harmonized System. Sections 10, 11 and 20 of the Customs Tariff are of particular relevance to tariff classification
Canadian International Trade Tribunal
An independent quasi-judicial body. They hear and decide on appeals from tariff classification decisions made by the CBSA.
Compendium of Classification Opinions
A list of the most significant or difficult classification decisions, created by the World Customs Organization. Regard must be given to these opinions when classifying goods.
Departmental memoranda
Administrative policy issued by the Canada Border Services Agency. They include legislation, regulations, policies, and procedures the CBSA uses to administer customs programs.
Explanatory notes
Notes that are established and revised by the World Customs Organization as the official intreptation of the Harmonized System. They must be taken into consideration when classifying goods.
Federal Court of Appeal
The court which has jurisdiction to hear applications for judicial review and appeals in respect of certain Federal Tribuanls, including the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
General rules for the interpretation of the Harmonized System
Rules that must be followed, in sequential order, when classifying goods under the Harmonized System.
Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System
The international tariff classification system made up of descriptions and numbers used to classify goods. Also referred to as the Harmonzied System.
The first four digits of a classification number. The heading provides for a grouping of common goods within the chapter.
Legal notes
These notes are found at the beginning of sections and chapters in the Canadian Customs Tariff. They are sometimes reffered to as section, chapter, and supplementary notes. These notes have a legal standing and must be followed when determining the classification of goods.
Is the complete text of the Harmonized System. It is made up of language from the general interpretive rules, the section, and chapter notes, and the terms of the headings and subheadings.
Statistical suffix
The ninth and tenth digits that make up the complete classification number. These digits represent detailed descriptions of goods and provide import statistics collected by Statistics Canada.
The fifth and sixth digits of the classification number. This level of classification is internationally agreed upon at the World Customs Organization to be used when classifying goods.
Supplementary notes
Legal notes that are applied at the domestic level.
Tariff item
The seventh and eighth digits of the classification number. Finance Canada has added this level to assign duty rates.
World Customs Organization
An intergovernmental body that created the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System to create consistency in the way goods are classified internationally.
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