Get tariff data
The WTO website now offers sophisticated options for researching members’ customs duty rates and in many cases imports. One, the new Tariff Analysis Online, draws on two databases to offer tariff rates on products defined at the highest level of detail, import statistics and the ability to analyse these interactively. Another, the Tariff Download Facility, provides standardized tariff statistics, in slightly less detail but with the ability to compare between countries immediately.
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 are you looking for?
- Sophisticated, detailed and interactive analysis?
- Simpler, standardized tariff statistics, mainly for downloading?
With both of these services, users can obtain and compare two sets of customs tariffs:
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.
Tariff Analysis Online is the most versatile and detailed. The tariffs are available at the level of “tariff line” (eight or more digits of the Harmonized System codes). At this level of detail, comparisons between countries are not always possible because countries do not always use the same code numbers to define products.
However, Tariff Analysis Online does allow a number of options for looking up data and for analysing it online, including tariffs, tariff quotas, imports and countries’ commitments on agricultural subsidies. The results can be viewed on screen or downloaded and printed.
The Tariff Download Facility is simpler. The data on bound,
applied and preferential tariffs and import statistics are available
in up to six digits of the Harmonized System (HS) codes, which are
standard for all countries.
The Tariff Download Facility provides more detail than a third collection of data, the World Tariff Profiles, where the figures are for broader categories of products.
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Customs codes and standardization
Products in the databases are identified using the World Customs Organization’s internationally agreed “Harmonized System” (HS).
Under the system, the broadest categories of products are identified by two-digit “chapters” (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 or “heading” 0403 is a group of products derived from milk. At six digits, 0403.10 is the “sub-heading” for yoghurt; at the eight-digit level, 0403.10.11 could be low-fat yoghurt “tariff line”.
The codes are standard up to six digits, the most detailed level that can be compared internationally. This is used in the Tariff Download Facility. Beyond that, countries are free to use their own definitions according to their individual requirements, and this is reflected in the new Tariff Analysis Online.
Both Tariff Analysis Online and the Tariff Download Facility allow data to be downloaded in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and other formats.
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For each country
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 Tariff Download Facility presents bound and applied information in a uniform consolidated form for all member countries. Since they identify products at the same level of detail (the same number of digits in the Harmonized System coding), 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”).
Tariff Analysis Online provides tariff line detail reports as well as analytical reports at higher levels of aggregation.
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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). Data on lower preferential duties under free trade agreements or preferential schemes for developing countries are available for some members. Annual import statistics by country of origin are also available in the IDB.
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How to obtain the information
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.
- 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