By: Dan Cariello
You are trying to get your shipment through Customs, out of the country and over to Germany. Your shipper wants you to classify your product with a Schedule B number (the export commodity code.) So you go to www.census.gov/scheduleb and use the search engine provided. Great! Now you begin searching your commodity by typing in a keyword for a car you want to ship to Germany. On the next screen you get a list of descriptions for the keyword: Car. The following appears:
Schedule B code
|020110||Beef, carcasses and half-carcasses, fresh or chilled|
|020110||Buffalo meat, carcasses and half-carcasses, fresh or chilled|
|020110||Meat of bovine animals, carcasses and half-carcasses, fresh or chilled|
|020110||Veal, carcasses and half-carcasses, fresh or chilled|
|020120||Beef, except carcasses and half-carcasses, bone in, fresh or chilled|
|020120||Buffalo meat, except carcasses and half-carcasses, bone in, fresh or chilled|
|020120||Meat of bovine animals, except carcasses and half-carcasses|
But wait, keep scrolling down, you’ll see it…
|870321-24 Cars, spark-ignition, new or used|
|870331-33 Cars, compression-ignition (diesel) new or used|
|870710 Passenger automobile (car) bodies|
If you didn’t know any better you would have stopped searching, closed the screen at Beef, carcasses and half-carcasses…etc., and called the Commodity Analysis Branch for a representative to help you.
I know what you are going through because this is what we hear from people on our call center trying to classify something as simple as a car. The current search engine will pull up everything that has the letters “car” as in the example shown above.
Why can’t there be a smarter search engine, it is 2010 right? Aren’t there touch screen monitors and cars that can park themselves now? Yes, there are. So we in the Foreign Trade Division now have a smart search to better assist YOU in classifying your product. The new improved search tool will interpret common commercial product information and interact intelligently and intuitively with users to help alleviate the complex nature of finding the correct code in the Schedule B book. This new search engine’s aim is to help reduce the time it takes you to classify your product, and to consistently and accurately file your shipment. In turn, this will improve the quality of our trade statistics.
The new search is available at www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/#search
By the way, you can still call the Commodity Analysis Branch at 1-800-549-0595 (option 2).