tariffs

Consolidated Tariff Schedules Database

The Consolidated Tariff Schedules (CTS) Database contains the agreed maximum tariffs that WTO members can impose on imported products from other WTO members. This internal database cannot be accessed outside of the WTO.

Note:

The terms “country” and “countries” are used here for convenience. The terms cover WTO members that are separate customs territories or customs unions such as the EU.

What the CTS Database contains

The CTS Database contains in a standardized format all WTO members' commitments on the tariffs they will apply to imports from other members. The database has been established as a working tool only, without any implications regarding the legal status of the information contained in the database.

All members' CTS files (approved and provisional) are available to members through the Tariff Analysis Online (TAO). For each WTO member, there is a CTS file in MS-Access format and in text format containing its tariff commitments and, if applicable, its specific commitments in agriculture.

The table of tariff commitments for each member includes:

  • bound most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs of the latest commitments at the national customs tariff line level (HS-8 digits or more)
  • base MFN tariffs used as the base rate in the most recent negotiations at the national customs tariff line level (HS-8 digits or more) for commitments not fully implemented
  • other duties and charges
  • Special safeguards applicable to the tariff line for agricultural products only
  • present and first instruments referring to the WTO/General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade legal instrument in which the present/first concession(s) on the product were established
  • initial negotiating rights (present and earlier INRs) referring to the WTO member(s) holding INRs on the present concession and/or earlier concessions
  • implementation period, providing the start year and end year for the period for the concession to be fully implemented.

Where relevant, additional tables present information on specific commitments in agriculture, including:

  • domestic support commitments (Total AMS), recorded on a per member basis
  • export subsidies with an export subsidy bound outlay level and quantity recorded at the tariff line level and linked to relevant tariff concessions
  • tariff quotas, with in-quota bound duty and quota quantity recorded at the tariff line level and linked to the out-of-quota bound duty.

Sources of information

The CTS Database contains commitments made by WTO members during several rounds of trade negotiations and/or at different periods of time. Members' commitments are presented in many different legal instruments (such as schedules of  concessions). These instruments have been made available in many different formats (e.g. Excel, txt, Word, paper) and in different nomenclatures over time, making them difficult to use.

The different sources of information include:

  • pre-Uruguay Round concessions
  • Uruguay Round concessions
  • plurilateral agreements, such as on pharmaceuticals, trade in civil aircraft, distilled spirits, information technology products
  • HS transpositions (HS1996, HS2002, HS2007, HS2012)
  • “Nairobi package” to eliminate export subsidies
  • accession packages of new members
  • renegotiations through Articles XXIV and XXVIII of the GATT
  • rectifications and modifications of schedules.

CTS — the latest approved schedules of concessions  

Background 

The CTS Database, approved by the Committee on Market Access on 27 November 1998, was established to improve the recording of members' concessions on goods. It involved the formatting, consolidation and standardization of members' tariff commitments (bound tariffs) and specific commitments in agriculture (domestic support, export subsidies and tariff quota information).

Developed members prepared their own CTS files while the WTO Secretariat prepared the files for all developing members. The files were then reviewed by the members concerned.Where necessary, comments and clarifications were introduced, after which the files were deemed to be approved. Members have the right to review and amend their CTS files at any time.

Rectifications and modifications to schedules of concessions are continuously added to the CTS. A major update took place to take account of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the ITA expansion commitments of the participating members. The results of the “Nairobi package” to eliminate agricultural export subsidies have also been reflected in the CTS files.  Files for newly acceded members have also been created. Corrections and required revisions identified by members and the WTO Secretariat are also incorporated in the CTS files. Revised files are made available to download from Tariff Analysis Online as they are processed, and the members concerned are informed accordingly. The original version of the CTS Database was recorded in the HS1996 nomenclature but for most members their commitments have now been successively transposed to HS2002, HS2007 and HS2012 nomenclatures. For each transposition exercise, the Secretariat prepared notes on methodology which have been approved by members in the Committee on Market Access. The latest refers to the HS2017 changes (G/MA/366). Notes on methodology were also prepared for the HS2012 changes (G/MA/330 and Add.1), the HS2007 changes (G/MA/283) and the HS2002 changes (JOB(05)/124, Add.1 and Add.2).

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Jargon buster
  • ad valorem (AV): a tariff rate charged as percentage of the price
  • applied rates: duties that are actually charged on imports. These can be below the bound rates
  • bound rates (tariff binding): commitment not to increase a rate of duty beyond an agreed level. Once a rate of duty is bound, it may not be raised without compensating the affected parties
  • digits, digit-level: (tariffs) a reference to the codes used to identify products. Categories of products are subdivided by adding digits. See Harmonized System
  • Harmonized System: World Customs Organization’s system of code numbers for identifying products. The codes are standard up to six digits. Beyond that countries can introduce national distinctions for tariffs and many other purposes
  • MFN (most-favoured-nation) tariff: normal non-discriminatory tariff charged on imports (excludes preferential tariffs under free trade agreements and other schemes or tariffs charged inside quotas)
  • schedules: (for goods) list of bound tariff rates
  • tariff line (TL in the tables): a product, as defined by a system of code numbers for tariffs
  • More jargon: glossary

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