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Explaining China GAC's Modifications on Commodity Classification and Declaration Requirements of Imported Facial Cleansers

Chinese law requires enterprises to properly classify and declare commodities imported to the country under its Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. Liquid and cream cleansing products such as facial cleansers and exfoliators shall fall under the HS Code 3401.3000. The corresponding customs declaration requirements of imported facial cleansers including import duties, declaration elements, and inspection and quarantine are clarified.


For overseas companies intending to export goods to China, a truthful declaration of the HS code that applies to their products is the prerequisite for efficient customs clearance.

What is HS Code?

The HS Code, short for Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, is an international nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) for the classification of globally traded products. Most countries worldwide have adopted HS as the basis for import/export goods identification, customs duties assessment, international trade statistics collection, trade policies formulation, etc.

According to WCO, the system comprises over 5,000 commodity groups, and each is allocated with a unique six-digit HS code that is organized in a hierarchical structure by chapters (first 2 digits), headings (first 4 digits) and subheadings (full 6 digits).

Notably, the six-digit code remains the same among WCO’s member states. However, countries are also allowed to add more digits after the first six for further classification. The number of digits differs between countries. For instance, the commodity HS Code in China at present consists of 13 digits, as shown below.

3306101010.102 Toothpaste containing endangered vegetable (children toothpaste)

Section VI


Products of the chemical or allied industries




Essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations




Preparations for oral or dental hygiene, including denture fixative pastes and powders; yarn used to clean between the teeth (dental floss), in individual retail packages








Toothpaste containing endangered vegetable

Customs   Supervision Additional No.



Inspection and Quarantine Additional No.



(An Example of China’s 13-Digit HS Code Structure)

Commodity Classification Dilemma of Facial Cleansers

In the cosmetic sector, China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) classifies the goods into different categories, including Perfumes (3303), Make-Up & Skin-Care Preparations (3304), Hair Care Products (3305), Soap & Other Products to Wash the Skin (3401), etc.

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