Questions & Answers
Background Information for U.S. Agricultural Trade Data
What is the Harmonized System (HS) of trade
How does the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the
United States differ from the international HS code?
What is FATUS and USDA's role in U.S. trade
Where can I access U.S.
agricultural trade data?
Where are release dates for U.S. trade data?
Codes, Abbreviations, and Summary Categories for High-Value
How do I know if a FATUS group includes a
particular HTS code?
How do I find the 10-digit U.S. HTS code for my
Where are the data for my HTS code?
Which abbreviations are most commonly used in U.S.
What is the difference between "high-value" (HVP)
and "consumer-oriented" trade and where do I find these breakouts
of U.S. agricultural trade?
Definitions, Country Codes, Ports, Tariffs, Commodity
Classifications, and Lists of Traders
Where is a detailed description of what is
included in U.S. trade data?
Where are country codes listed?
Where are U.S. and foreign ports?
How do I find tariffs for a commodity?
How do I properly classify my commodity?
I wish to trade with the United States or I need a
list of U.S. traders of a particular commodity; where do I obtain
for U.S. Agricultural Trade Data
Q. What is the Harmonized System (HS)
of trade codes?
A.The International Harmonized Commodity Coding and
Classification System (HS) was established by the World Customs
Organization. HS is an international standard for world trade at a
6-digit level of detail. For example, 10=cereals, 1005=corn,
1005.90=other corn. Each country has the option of further breaking
down these international HS codes into more digits and greater
detail to meet their own needs.
Other international or multilateral trade coding systems exist.
These include: 1) the Standard International Trade Classification
(SITC) codes used by the United Nations, and 2) the old Standard
Industrial Classification (SIC) used in the United States and the
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) used by North
American Free Trade Agreement member countries (Canada, Mexico, and
the United States) to classify industrial goods. These codes all
are standardized at six digits, but also can be made more detailed
by individual countries.
Concordances between these other systems and the HS system or
the HTS system used in the United States can be found on the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. International Trade Commission
Q. How does the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule (HTS) of the United States differ from the international
A.For describing trade, the United States chose to use 10-digit
codes at the most detailed level. This set of 10-digit trade codes
is known as the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
(HTS). It is based on the International HS standard and was
introduced in U.S. trade on January 1, 1989. It further refines the
6-digit international HS standard. For example: 10=cereals,
1005=corn, 1005.90=other corn, 1005.90.2020=U.S. no. 1 yellow dent
Q. What is FATUS and USDA's role in
U.S. trade data?
A.USDA has been mandated by Congress to define those U.S. HTS
codes constituting agriculture and to provide the public with
statistics on U.S. agricultural trade. USDA's Foreign Agricultural
Service (FAS) and ERS are jointly responsible for defining and
maintaining U.S. agricultural trade data. Since about 1926, USDA
has maintained the Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States
(FATUS) database to fulfill this responsibility to Congress.
FATUS is a system of 213 trade codes created by USDA for the
purpose of summarizing U.S. agricultural trade in a form most
usable by the public. FATUS combines the several thousand
(>4,000 import and >2,000 export) 10-digit U.S. HTS codes
from the U.S. Census Bureau, which USDA defines as "agricultural,"
into these usable groupings. FAS' Global
Agricultural Trade System (GATS) contains information on the country composition of FATUS regions and the
HTS content of FATUS commodity groups for exports and imports.
Q. Where can I access U.S. agricultural
A. Monthly U.S. agricultural trade data from 1989 forward,
including both FATUS and HTS codes, are available online from FAS's
Global Agricultural Trade
System (GATS). Choose FATUS
imports or FATUS
Monthly historical trade data back to 1967 are available
electronically from GATS using both the FAS and BICO-10 product
Q. Where are release dates for U.S.
A.The U.S. Census Bureau is the official source of
the monthly release schedule. ERS compilations of trade data are
released monthly. For ERS' release dates, see 2012
Codes, Abbreviations, and
Summary Categories for High-Value Products
Q. How do I know if a FATUS group
includes a particular HTS code?
A.FAS' Global Agricultural Trade
System (GATS) contains information on the HTS content of FATUS
commodity groups for exports and imports. Click on a commodity group to see the
codes within the group.
Q. How do I find the 10-digit U.S. HTS
code for my commodity?
A.The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is responsible
for maintaining the 10-digit code list for U.S. imports. See the USITC's HTS schedule. The U.S. Census Bureau
maintains the list of HTS 10-digit codes for exports called Schedule B.
Q. Where are the data for my HTS
A.FAS' Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS) has
U.S. agricultural trade data by HTS code and by month from 1989
USITC also has U.S. trade data by 10-digit HTS code for both
exports and imports in a searchable form back to January 1989 by
country, Customs District, and month. Create your own free account
and search USITC's trade dataweb.
Q. Which abbreviations are most
commonly used in U.S. trade data?
A. Common abbreviations include:
DOZ - dozen (12)
HL - hectoliters (26.4 U.S. gallons)
MT - metric tons (2,204.6 pounds)
NA - not applicable
NO - number
PC - pieces
TH - thousands
US $ - U.S. dollars
FR - fresh
FZ - frozen
Prep - prepared or preparations
Pres - preserved
Ch - chilled
Ed - edible
Ex - excluding
In - including
Prods - products
W/nt - whether or not
NESOI - not elsewhere specified or included
See also FAS' Abbreviations for Units of Quantity. ERS
also has Weight, Measures, and Conversion Factors for
Agricultural Commodities and Their Products, which contains
conversion factors from English to metric units.
Q. What is the difference between
"high-value" (HVP) and "consumer-oriented" trade and where do I
find these breakouts of U.S. agricultural trade?
A.These terms refer to two different breakouts of U.S.
agricultural trade used by ERS and FAS. Neither USDA agency
provides data on both. Two differing methods provide users a
ERS breaks U.S. agricultural trade into two large
categories-bulk and high-value products. ERS data on bulk and
high-value products are available on a fiscal
and calendar basis.
FAS breaks U.S. agricultural trade into three large
categories-bulk, intermediate, and consumer-oriented (BICO)
products. BICO data are one of the choices in FAS' Global
Agricultural Trade System (GATS).
Definitions of bulk commodities are identical between the two
USDA agencies, so FAS' intermediate plus its consumer-oriented
series should equal ERS' high-value data.
Definitions, Countries, Ports, Tariffs, Commodity
Classifications, and Lists of Traders
Q. Where is a detailed description of
what is included in U.S. trade data?
A.For definitions and descriptions of official U.S. trade data,
see the U.S. Census Bureau's Description of the Foreign Trade Statistics
Q. Where are country codes listed?
A.The U.S. Census Bureau provides a list of country trade codes
(Schedule C). FAS' Global
Agricultural Trade System (GATS) also contains a list of individual countries and FATUS country groups.
For more information about individual countries and lists of
alternative country codes, see the U.S. State Department's Fact
Sheet on Independent States in the World and the Central
Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.
Q. Where are U.S. and foreign
A.The U.S. Census Bureau provides a list of U.S. trade ports (
Schedule D). The Army Corps of Engineers
maintains a list of foreign ports ( Schedule K).
Q. How do I find tariffs for a
A.The global tariff information ERS has is presented in the WTO agricultural trade policy commitments database
on tariff levels. Bound and annual applied tariff data for
World Trade Organization (WTO) members are presented in a set of
commodity aggregates. These aggregates allow comparison across
countries of average levels of tariff protection. The data on
tariff-rate quotas are presented at the level of aggregation
specified by WTO members in their market access schedules. See the
ERS WTO Topic and the Agricultural Market Access Database for
FAS also has world tariff data on its website. See import programs or trade policy.
For U.S. tariff information, see the U.S. International Trade
Commission's Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
Q. How do I properly classify my
A.Duty and classification information is available from U.S.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP). See the Contacts page on the CBP website for more
Q. I wish to trade with the United
States or I need a list of U.S. traders of a particular commodity;
where do I obtain this information?
A. ERS does not have this type of information. Specific U.S.
trade information is reported to the Federal Government by
individual U.S. companies with the understanding that it is
proprietary and will be protected. FAS' U.S. Exporter Assistance contacts provide
information to U.S. agricultural exporters and can be of some help
to U.S. agricultural importers.
The United States also has numerous trade associations for
individual commodities. Many U.S. companies trading a particular
commodity are members of one of these associations. These
associations usually will provide information. Search for them on