The World Customs Organization (WCO) announces the entry into force on 1 January 2012 of the new version of the Harmonized System Nomenclature, the world’s global standard for classifying over 98% of goods in international trade.
Used by over 200 countries and economic or Customs unions as well as by international organizations such as the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Harmonized System (HS) Convention currently has 141 Contracting Parties, making it the WCO’s most successful instrument to date.
“This is the fifth amendment to the HS Nomenclature since the WCO Council approved its adoption in 1983,” said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya. “Given the vital role this instrument plays in facilitating trade and in ensuring connectivity between trade actors, I would urge its speedy implementation by Customs and our private sector partners,” he added.
The 2012 version includes 220 sets of amendments: 98 relating to the agricultural sector; 27 to the chemical sector; 9 to the paper sector; 14 to the textile sector; 5 to the base metal sector; 30 to the machinery sector; and an additional 37 that apply to a variety of other sectors.
Environmental and social issues are the major feature of these 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 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
HS 2012 also features new classification provisions for specific chemicals controlled under the Rotterdam Convention and ozone-depleting substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol to further respond to global environment protection efforts.
Changing trade patterns too played a role in the new version as did efforts to simplify the HS, recognized universally as a multi-purpose tool and used extensively as a basis for Customs tariffs and for the collection of national and international trade statistics.