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A Basket of Cheer

Posted By rosannatorres On May 25, 2010 @ 5:02 am In Foreign Trade Data | No Comments

By: David Johnson

N.E.S.O.I.: If you file import or export documentation long enough, you are bound to come across this slightly intimidating acronym in the description of some commodities. It stands for Not Elsewhere Specified or Included. You are probably saying to yourself “That’s nice, but how does it affect me?” Trust me, you will want to know about this.
Glass HarmonicaAs I have mentioned before, the number of import and export codes is huge (over 25,000 combined) and yet every time I am on the Schedule B help center I always manage to hear the same thing, something along the lines of “Our product is so unique, I don’t see anything listed that sounds like it”. They are right in that they won’t find a Schedule B number that specifies Multi-colored plastic dog shoes or Benjamin Franklin’s invention , the armonica [1]. What they will find is that toward the end of each chapter and under most four digit headings there is the word “other”. “Other” is a common theme in the classification of goods and it makes perfect sense though for whatever reason, people tend to shy away from it when they are first classifying their products.

My theory is that the reason why people worry so much about being specific is because they really want to do everything correctly. This is a great mindset to be in but when it comes to specialized commodities, chances are it is going to fall under one, if not several levels of “other” classification. For instance, heading 3924 is for “Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and hygienic or toilet articles, of plastic”.

Beneath, there are only four specific Schedule B numbers, one that includes all of the tableware and kitchenware, one that is for nursing nipples and finger cots, one that is for picture frames, and one that is for articles of thin plastic like mats and curtains. Anything else you could ever imagine that would be a household article would fall into heading 3924’s other classification or what we like to fondly call, the basket classification because it catches everything else that doesn’t have its own number. This concept can be extended to an entire chapter and even the entire Schedule B or Harmonized Tariff Schedule. It is a process of exclusion starting at the chapter level and then at the heading level and on down until you have your commodity code.


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[1] armonica: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_harmonica