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Datamyne Resource Center

Covering trade & transport, with tips on using import-export data to advantage

HS Tariff Codes for Tesla Products

Category: Exports, Trade Policy

The World Customs Organization (WCO) has proposed a set of Harmonized System (HS) tariff codes to tag and track import-export trade in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric passenger vehicles.

The new codes are part of a package of amendments to the HS that is managed by the WCO and is used by 179 Customs administrations that collectively process about 98% of global trade. Every five years WCO proposes changes – which include retiring codes for products no longer in trade as well as creating new codes – to maintain the HS as an up-to-date tool for collecting trade statistics.

Right now, the all-purpose “Motor Vehicles – Other” code of HS 8703.90.00 is generally used to denote electrically propelled vehicles (among others) on Customs documents. The lack of specific product codes makes it difficult to track emerging trade in hybrid and all-electric cars, but not impossible …

One source of information on products in trade is the available data on parties to that trade.

For example, though there are currently no distinct HS tariff codes for Tesla Model S all-electric sedans, the import-export trade of Tesla Motors is documented in bills of lading and manifests – the sources for Datamyne’s US maritime import and export databases.

Our export data indicates that, as planned, Tesla this year quickly ramped up shipments to China, a market it believes will be among its largest in a few years.  It also appears to be making good on plans to expand into right-hand drive markets, such as Hong Kong, Japan and the UK.

TESLA MOTORS export markets 2014

Taking a look at the individual export manifests underlying the data, we found that almost 85% of Tesla’s export volume is accounted for by Model S sedans, with the balance consisting of parts, including batteries and powertrains.

Here’s another view of the car maker’s export activity over the last 12 months – a page from Datamyne’s Exporter Profile of Tesla Motors:

Datamyne Exporter Profile TESLA MOTORS, INC.

The complete Datamyne Profiles of Tesla Motors (two are available – Tesla as exporter and as importer) supply additional information on trade activities, including carriers, ports, countries of origin/destination for shipments, as well as links to D&B background, news, social media, and contact information.

The WCO’s amendments are to go into effect January 1, 2017. The US generally implements the classification changes in its 10-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) in the year prior to the effective date.

You can see the WCO’s recommendations for HS 2017 here (scroll down to Chapter 87 for the new codes for hybrid and all-electric cars).

To learn more about Datamyne Profiles and trade data on US exporters and importers, just ask us.



  • HS 2012, introducing tariff codes for disposable diapers, “certified organic” agricultural products, and lithium-ion batteries, was implemented by the US with the 2011 edition of the HTS – see By the Numbers.

Date posted: September 19, 2014


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