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Interactive service gives WTO tariff research new sophistication

A new service was added to the WTO’s set of tools for finding out information on customs tariffs

February 18, 2010

Interactive service gives WTO tariff research new sophistication

A new service was added to the WTO’s set of tools for finding out information on customs tariffs this month. The latest addition, Tariff Analysis Online, includes the greatest available level of detail on the tariffs that WTO members have legally bound and the rates they are actually charging, summary import statistics, and the ability to analyze these interactively.

Tariff Analysis Online draws on two WTO databases: the Integrated Database (IDB) of tariff and import data, and the Consolidated Tariff Schedules, which contains WTO members’ commitments on tariffs and agricultural subsidies.

It provides users with flexible search criteria and produces a range of analytical reports — the results of the searches — covering both tariffs and imports, in detail and summary levels. Users can manipulate the analysis online and download and print the resulting reports.

The existing Tariff Download Facility  is simpler and would be the service of choice for users looking for more basic information. It provides standardized statistical information on bound, applied and preferential tariffs on products defined in slightly less detail, by Harmonized System (HS) six-digit codes, with the ability to compare between countries swiftly.

A third service, the World Tariff Profiles, provides similar information to that of the Tariff Download Facility but for broader product categories.
The legally bound commitments on customs duty rates, which act as ceilings on the tariffs that member governments can set are known as “bound rates”. The rates that governments actually charge on imports, which can be lower, are known as “applied rates” and have a direct impact on trade. All of these services provide data on both bound and applied rates.

Customs codes and standardization 

Products in the databases are identified using the World Customs Organization’s internationally agreed Harmonized System

Under the system, the broadest categories of products are identified by two-digit chapters. These are then sub-divided by adding more digits: the higher the number of digits, the more detailed the categories. 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.

Tariff Analysis Online explanation and user guide

Tariff Download Facility explanation and user guide

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