'Tis the season for the Trade Post to be taking a little holiday hiatus. But before we leave you all to enjoy the holidays, we figured we'd offer you with a few trade-related cookies and carrots to nibble on.
The holiday season is a pivotal time of year for toymakers and retailers. Underneath the mistletoe, companies are trying to woo consumers with the right prices—a task often made tricky by tariffs on imported goods.
Traded goods have their very own naughty-or-nice list, one that the new World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement is trying to make easier to read. Each year, customs officials around the world decide how to classify the millions of toys crossing international borders. They do so according to the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, better known as “HS,” which provides a six-digit numeric code on about 5,000 different commodity groups. These codes help reduce trade costs by creating a uniform classification on goods, and a legally recognized system for customs officials to draw upon. According to the WCO, more than 200 countries use the HS, covering roughly 98 percent of internationally traded goods.
A product's classification can make a big difference on whether or not it becomes this year's top stocking-stuffer. But is there more to this classic tale?