U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA)

Rules of Origin

Step 1: Determine your product’s classification

Determining your product’s classification can be a multi-step process. Only the Colombian Customs Service can definitively determine whether a product is classified correctly under Colombia’s tariff schedule. Provided here are steps that should help you get reasonably close to classifying yourproduct in order to determine whether to claim tariff preferences under the TPA.

The first step is to look up your U.S. Schedule B classification. This serves two purposes. The first is that it may be required on your export documentation. Second, the initial six-digits (referred to as the HS Code) will tend to be, if not the same, in the same neighborhood as your product’s classification in the Colombian tariff schedule and its listing in the U.S.-Colombia TPA Rules of Origin. Since HS Codes are largely standardized from country-to-country, identifying your product’s HS Code under the U.S. Schedule B puts you well on the path to finding your product’s classification in Colombia. However, despite this standardization, it is ultimately up to the Colombian Customs Service to determine how your product will be classified. For example, what would be the classification of a security device that combines a flashlight, pepper spray and an alarm? The U.S. Customs Service classified this as a flashlight, but the Colombian Customs Service might view it as an alarm.

To find your Schedule B classification, we recommend starting with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Schedule B database. This plain language tool, where you can enter “laptop” instead of “portable digital automated data processing machine,” helps you discover the probable U.S. Schedule B for your product.

Example: The U.S. Schedule B classification for laptop computers is 8471.30.0100. The first six digits of the Schedule B is the HS Code. For laptops the HS code is 8471.30. To learn more about product classification, including a video on using Schedule B, visit Tariff and Import Fees.

Enter the first six-digits of your product’s U.S. Schedule B classification (the HS Code), into the FTA Tariff Tool with “FTA Partner” set to “Colombia”. This will pull up all the 10-digit tariff codes containing those six digits from the Colombia’s tariff schedule, in order. Note that because the Colombian tariff schedule often does not identify products at greater detail than that described by the six-digit HS Code, it is likely that you will only get one result from this search (i.e the six-digit HS Code with four zeros [“0”] on the end). But, if you do get more than one result, looking at all the results that start with the same six digits will show you how Colombia sub-divides your product’s HS Code when assigning tariff rates. You will need to determine whether your product is likely covered by the product descriptions attached to one of those lines. The 10-digit code in the first column should be your product’s tariff classification in the Colombian tariff schedule. From the results page in the FTA Tariff Tool, click on View Details to see the FTA-negotiated preferential tariff rate (FTA rate) and phase-out schedule for your product.

Tip: At the present time, the FTA Tariff Tool only includes the FTA rates for industrial products. Agricultural and textile and apparel products should be added in the near future. In the meantime, the Customs Info Database described in Step 2 can provide current FTA rates.

Tip: Sometimes it is helpful to look at an overall Tariff Schedule structure to understand how it is organized. The U.S. tariff schedule can be found here.

Tip: In some cases, your importer or freight forwarder may be able to provide the likely Colombian tariff classification for your product, but only the Colombian Customs Service can make the definitive determination.

Step 2: Determine whether there is an advantage to claiming preferential treatment under the TPA

Note: The information presented on this website is meant to serve as a general guide. Only the agreement text and the customs regulations issued to implement the agreement are definitive. For complex issues or where interpretation is required, U.S. exporters should seek legal assistance.