Classification Codes: SITC and HS
Sources for trade statistics use one or more standard classification codes to group commodities and products.
- The Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) has been in use since 1950. It has been revised several times; SITC4 (2006) is the most recent revision. For more information on SITC, and to look up product codes, see the UN Classifications Registry.
- The Harmonized System (HS), a newer classification code, was devised to incorporate new product types. It has been revised several times since 1988; HS 2012 is the most recent revision. For more information on HS, and to look up product codes, see the World Customs Organization.
How the Codes Work
SITC and HS categorize products in standard nomenclature within a numerical hierarchy. In either code, the level of product detail is indicated by digit level within the classification hierarchy. Two-digit product breakdowns are very general while products expressed at five-digits are quite detailed. For example, in HS:
- 08 is the class number for Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons
- 0802.12 -- is the class number for Almonds: Shelled
Links Between Classifications
Although many sources now use HS, some also continue to report in SITC. This can be helpful for research requiring time depth, because statistics reported in one classification code may not be readily comparable with those of another.
Tables showing the links between SITC and HS are available in Correspondance Tables at the UN Classifications Registry.