Users can obtain and compare the legally bound commitments on
customs duty rates, which act as ceilings on the tariffs that member
governments can set and are known as “bound rates”, with the rates that
governments actually charge on imports, which can be lower, are known as
“applied rates” and have a direct impact on trade.
The tariffs in the database are for individual products, disaggregated to the most detailed level available according to a standardized definition. They provide more detail than the World Tariff Profiles, where the figures were for broader categories of
The standardized information back to top
The data are standardized by making them
available at the same level of detail. This is achieved by
identifying products by 6-digit codes under the World Customs
Organization’s internationally agreed “Harmonized System” (HS) for
defining product categories.
Under the system, the broadest categories of products are identified
by two digits (e.g. 04 is dairy products, eggs and other edible
animal products). These are then sub-divided by adding more digits:
the higher the number of digits, the more detailed the categories.
For example the four-digit code 0403 is a group of products derived
from milk. At six digits, 0403.10 is yoghurt; at the eight-digit
level, 0403.10.11 could be low-fat yoghurt.
The codes are standard up to six digits. For that reason, the WTO’s
data are presented at six digits, the most detailed level that can
be compared internationally. Beyond that, countries are free to use
their own definitions according to their individual requirements.
The database allows data to be downloaded in a range of formats such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files (to see which
products are covered by the six-digit codes, scroll over to the
right of the table).
Alternatively users can also download Excel spreadsheet files for individual countries, on each member
country’s page on the WTO website (see for example
Argentina). These pages can be reached from the
list of members.
The original lists of members’ bound commitments remain available.
The digit-level of the bound duty rates in these “schedules of
commitments”, can vary from country to country. The new files on
bound rates present the information in a uniform consolidated form
for all member countries. Since they identify products at the
six-digit level of detail, they can be used to compare the legally
bound ceilings with the rates that are actually applied. They also
show which product categories (or tariff subheadings) have no
commitments (i.e. are “unbound”).
Data sources back to top
The information on bound rates is based on the WTO’s Consolidated
Tariff Schedules (CTS) database, which covers the legal commitments
on tariffs that member governments have made in the WTO.
The information on applied rates is drawn from the WTO’s Integrated
Database (IDB). This is data that member governments supply annually
on the tariffs they apply normally under the non-discrimination
principle of most-favoured nation (MFN). This means it does not
cover lower preferential duties under free trade agreements or
preferential schemes for developing countries. For each country,
data for the most recent year are presented in one file, with the
complete historical series from 1996 in another larger file.
Where available, data on imports are also presented alongside an
indicative calculation of average unit values (essentially an
estimated indication of the average price) for each of the product
categories at the Harmonized System’s 6-digit code level.
How to obtain the information back to top
1. The database. Go to the WTO Tariff Download Facility database. See also a brief explanation and user guide: browse; Word; pdf.
2. By country. Links to this information are available on each WTO member country’s
information page on the WTO website. To reach these, go to the
list of members
and click a country’s name.
For each country, under the section “Goods schedules and tariff
data”, the following three items are included:
- Bound tariffs at the 6-digit subheading level
- Latest available MFN applied tariffs at the same 6-digit
- Historical applied tariffs at the 6-digit Harmonized System
subheading level (these are large files)