The WCO has published the agreed amendments to the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature that will enter into force on 1 January 2012.
About the amendments Environmental and social issues of global concern are the major feature of the HS 2012 amendments, particularly the use of the HS as the standard for classifying and coding goods of specific importance to food security and the early warning data system of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization The volume of amendments within, for instance, Chapter 3, for the separate identification of certain species of fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates, is eye-catching.
However, the modifications aim at improving the quality and precision of trade data in these commodities. The amendments include, inter alia, improved specifications for species from the Southern hemisphere. These amendments will enable economic trends in products other than those familiar to North Atlantic consumers to be monitored.
In the same vein, new subheadings have been created for the separate identification of certain edible vegetables, roots and tubers, fruit and nuts, as well as cereals. HS 2012 also features new subheadings for specific chemicals controlled under the Rotterdam Convention and ozone-depleting substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.
Other amendments resulted from changes in international trade patterns.These include deleting more than 40 subheadings due to the low volume of trade in specific products, separately identifying certain commodities in either existing or new headings, and reflecting advances in technology where possible. Finally, a number of amendments aim to clarify texts to ensure uniform application of the HS Nomenclature.
The recommendation to delete subheading 5308.10 for coir yarn in the nomenclature will not take effect on 1 January 2012 due to an objection having been lodged by one of the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention.
The Implementation period While January 2012 may seem far off, the WCO Secretariat is working on the development of requisite correlation tables between the old and new versions of the HS, and on updating HS publications, such as the Explanatory Notes, the Classification Opinions, the HS Commodity Database and the Alphabetical Index.
Customs administrations also have a huge task to ensure timely implementation of HS 2012, as required by the HS Convention. They are therefore encouraged to begin the process of implementing HS 2012 in their national Customs tariff or statistical nomenclatures