A joint task force of the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) and the Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) recently approved a revision to the widely used Product & Price Information Format (PPIF). The revised format now includes two optional fields where suppliers can provide the name of an image file (if images are provided on a CD-ROM) or the URL of an image file (if images are accessible on a website). Also added is an optional field where a supplier can provide the harmonized tariff code from the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States available at hts.usitc.gov.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) of tariff nomenclature is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers for classifying traded products and is developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization. Under the HS Convention, contracting parties are obliged to base their tariff schedules on the HS nomenclature. Penalties that can be levied against a company by a country for not including harmonized tariff codes on customs documentation can be expensive. As many manufacturers already use these codes for their products and distributors are being asked to provide the same information, expanded PPIFs that include these codes will benefit distributors that use them for importing and exporting.

Since 1999, PPIF has simplified transmission of price and product information from suppliers to distributors by eliminating the patchwork of proprietary manufacturer pricing formats. This universally accepted format has streamlined the process of updating database records to reflect current information. Distributor companies using PPIF account for 87% of the sales volume of PTDA distributor members; manufacturer companies using PPIF account for 94% of the sales volume of PTDA manufacturer members. For more information, visit ptda.org/PPIF.