Customs and trade statistics classification

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, generally referred to as "Harmonized System" or simply "HS", is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six-digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification. The system is used by more than 190 countries and economies as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98% of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.[1]

The trade statistics databases that were consulted and cross-referenced for this market study included those of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Trade Database of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Trade Competitiveness Map analysis of International Trade Centre (ITC) / UNCTAD / WTO, Government of India Department of Commerce Export Import Data Bank, EUROSTAT Statistical Office of the European Communities, the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) Foreign Trade Statistics, and United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (COMTRADE).

In most cases the import / export trade data reported by MATRADE corresponded identically or nearly identically with the data shown by COMTRADE as well as by the U.S. DOC databases. There were a few exceptions where MATRADE’s export statistics were significantly different from those reported by COMTRADE. Upon investigation of the few discrepancies, MATRADE responded: “The data in COMTRADE are published without certain detail checks especially at nine digit level of codes. This was due to volume of transactions involved (1.5-1.8 millions of transaction monthly) and to achieve our timelines, only major commodity codes in Malaysian International Trade are put into importance.” In addition to MATRADE’s response, the Malaysian Herbal Corporation (MHC) kindly cooperated by double-checking the HS Codes of concern with the Malaysian Department of Statistics and confirmed the results of MATRADE in those cases.[2] Therefore, where major discrepancies appeared between Malaysian internal statistics and those reported by COMTRADE, the MATRADE numbers was utilized with one exception. There was one major discrepancy between MATRADE data and CITES data for an Appendix II listed natural ingredient. In that case, the CITES data was utilized.

Table 1

Natural Ingredients that are the Subject of this Market Survey

HS Code

Product Description



Garlic bulb (Allium sativum L.) - fresh or chilled


Other dried vegetables: includes dried garlic (Allium sativum L.), leek (Allium porrum L.), marjoram herb (Origanum majorana L.), oregano herb (Origanum vulgare L.), parsley leaf (Petroselinum sativum (Mill.) Nyman ex A.W. Hill), savory herb (Satureja spp.), tarragon herb (Artemisia dracunculus L.), tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)



Betel nut (Areca catechu L.)


Mangosteen fruit (Garcinia mangostana L.) – fresh or dried


Noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia L.)



Tea leaf (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze)



Fruits of the genus Piper, whole


Black pepper fruit (Piper nigrum L.)


Javanese long pepper fruit (Piper retrofractum Vahl)


White pepper fruit (Piper nigrum L.)


Fruits of the genus Piper, crushed or ground


Fruits of the genera Capsicum and/or Pimenta, dried, crushed or ground


Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum J. Presl.)


Other cinnamons:

Cinnamomum deschampsii Gamble

Culilawan cinnamon (Cinnamomum culilawan (L.) Presl.)

Padang cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmanii (Nees) Bl.)


Clove flower buds & stems (Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry)


Nutmeg seed (Myristica fragrans Houtt.)


Mace (Myristica fragrans Houtt.)


Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton)


Other cardamoms:

Java cardamom (Amomum maximum Roxb.)

Round cardamom (Amomum compactum Sol. ex Maton)


Star anise fruit (Illicium verum Hook. f.)


Coriander fruit (Coriandrum sativum L.)


Cumin fruit (Cuminum cyminum L.)


Ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale Roscoe)


Other gingers: Zerumbet ginger (Zingiber zerumbet (L.) Roscoe)


Turmeric rhizome (Curcuma longa L.)


Other turmeric:

Temu pauh rhizome (Curcuma mangga Val. et Van Zijp)

Javanese turmeric rhizome (Curcuma xanthorrhiza Roxb.)


Curry powder (spice mixture)


Mixtures of 2 or more products of different headings of HS 0904 to 0910


Spices NESOI; includes, among others: Ajowan fruit (Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague), Basil seed, crushed (Ocimum basilicum L.), Celery fruit (Apium graveolens L.), Dill fruit (Anethum graveolens L.), Ethiopian pepper (Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich.), Fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.), Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens Kunth), Okra seed, crushed (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench), Poppy powder (Papaver somniferum L.), Sicilian sumac fruit (Rhus coriaria L.), Sickle-pod senna seed (Cassia tora L.), Spice husks (e.g. cardamom husk), various crushed or powdered spices, spent spices, NESOI.



Hop strobile (Humulus lupulus L.)


Plants and parts of plants (including seeds and fruits), of a kind used primarily in perfumery, in pharmacy or for insecticidal, fungicidal or similar purposes, fresh or dried, whether or not cut, crushed or powdered:


Other plants and parts of plants, used primarily in pharmacy:

Andrographis herb (Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Nees)

Bitter melon fruit, leaf, seed (Momordica charantia L.)

Calamus rhizome (Acorus calamus L.)

Ceylon citronella leaf (Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle)

Cubeb fruit (Piper cubeba L f.)

Galangal rhizomes & roots:

Greater galangal (Alpinia galangal (L.) Sw.)

Kaempferia galangal rhizome (Kaempferia galangal L.)

Lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum Hance)

Light galangal (Alpinia speciosa (J. C. Wendl.) K. Schum.)

Garcinia fruit (Garcinia cambogia (Gaertn.) Desr.)

Gotu kola herb (Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.)

Java tea (Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq.)

Phyllanthus root, stem and leaf (Phyllanthus niruri L.)

Rauwolfia root (Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. Ex Kurz)

Ringworm senna leaf & seed (Cassia alata L.)

Tongkat ali root (Eurycoma longifolia Jack)

West Indian lemongrass leaf (Cymbopogon citratus (DC. ex Nees) Stapf)


Agarwood (Aquilaria malaccensis Lam.), a.k.a. gaharu wood, chips, powder. Note: this commodity is classified by China as 1211.9033, Japan 1211.9052, India 1211.9080, Myanmar and Viet Nam 1211.9095, and Singapore uses 1211.9095 and 1211.9099


Seaweeds and other algae; includes black moss (Nostoc flagelliforme (Berk. &. Curtis) Bornet & Flahault), Chinese green alga (Caulerpa taxifolia (Vahl) C. Agardh), hijiki (Hizikia fusiforme Okam), kelp (Laminaria spp.), laver or nori (Porphyra spp.), sargassum (Sargassum pallidum (Turner) C. Agardh or Sargassum fusiforme (Harv.) Setch.), sea tangle (Laminaria japonica Aresch., or Echlonia kurome Okam.), and wakame (Undaria pinnatifida (Harv.) Suringar), among others.



Other natural gums, resins, gum-resins and oleoresins;

1301.9015: Benjamin cowrie


Gum copal (Agathis coranthifolia)


Dammar batu; resin obtained from Shorea lamellata Foxw., Shorea guiso (Blco) Bl., and/or Hopea dryobalanoides Miq.


Other vegetable saps and extracts:


Substances having anesthetic, prophylactic or therapeutic properties, NESOI


Other vegetable saps and extracts, NESOI


Agar-agar (dried, hydrophyllic, colloidal polysaccharide extracted from one of a number of related species of red algae, e.g. Gelidium spp.)


Carrageenan (refined hydrocolloid prepared by aqueous extraction from the following red seaweed: Chondrus crispus, Chondrus ocellatus, Eucheuma cottonii, Eucheuma spinosum, Gigartina acicularis, Gigartina pistillata, Gigartina radula, Gigartina stellata)



Vegetable products NESOI; includes betel leaf (Piper betle L.), betelnut palm leaf (Areca catechu L.), broussonetia (Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) L’Hér.), canaigre (Rumex hymenosepalus Torr.), catechu (Acacia catechu (L.f.) Willd.), Chinese smilax leaf (Smilax china L.), Indian shot seed (Canna indica L.), luffa (Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb., or Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.), quillaja bark (Quillaja saponaria Molina), rudraksha seed (Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb.), soapberry (Sapindus saponaria L.), soapwort (Saponaria officinalis L.), and tendu leaf (Diospyros melonoxylon Roxb.), among others



Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera L.) crude


Coconut oil, other than crude & fractions thereof



Cocoa butter (fat obtained from the seed of Theobroma cacao L.)



Extracts, essences and concentrates of tea leaf (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze), jasmine flower (Jasminum officinale L.), and/or maté leaf (Ilex paraguariensis A. St. Hil.)



Alkaloids of cinchona & their derivatives; salts thereof



Essential oils (terpeneless or not), including concretes and absolutes; resinoids; extracted oleoresins; concentrates of essential oils in fats, in fixed oils, in waxes or the like, obtained by enfleurage or maceration; terpenic by-products of the deterpenation of essential oils; aqueous distillates and aqueous solutions of essential oils: Citronella oil, Clove oil, Cornmint oil, Nutmeg oil, Other essential oils other than those of citrus fruits, Other resinoids NESOI, Rose oil, Spices oil NESOI


Extracted oleoresins; concentrates of essential oils in fats, fixed oils, waxes:

Aqueous solutions of essential oils

Black pepper oleoresin

Capsicum fruit oleoresin

Cardamom oleoresin

Clove flower oleoresin

Coriander fruit oleoresin

Cumin fruit oleoresin

Fenugreek seed oleoresin

Ginger rhizome oleoresin

Turmeric rhizome oleoresin


Other mixtures of odoriferous substances NESOI



Gutta percha latex (Payena spp. and Palaquium gutta (Hooker) Baillon), gutta hang kang (Palaquium leiocarpum Boerl. and Palaquium oblongifolium Burck.), balata (Manilkara bidentata (A. DC.) Chev.), chicle (Manilkara zapota (L.) P. Royen), guayule (Parthenium argentatum Gray), jelutong bukit or pontianak (Dyera costulata (Miq.) hook. f.) Dyera lowii Hook. f., or Dyera latifolia), leche caspi sorva (Couma macrocarpa Barb. Rodr), and other similar natural gums.

  1. World Customs Organization. Harmonized System Convention. General Information. Available at:
  2. E-mail correspondence with Nazimuddin Abdul Basir during June 2007