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New Edition of the Harmonized System to come into force on 1 January 2022

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The Contracting Parties to the “International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System" have finalized the 7th edition of the Harmonized System nomenclature (HS 2022), the most widespread system of classification of goods applied by trading nations and used for their international trade negotiations.

Run by the World Customs Organization, the HS uses 6-digits which serve as the basis for Customs tariffs and for the compilation of international trade statistics in 211 economies (of which 158 are Contracting Parties to the HS Convention).

In addition to the HS, many countries also use other systems like the UN Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), to facilitate the comparison of their external trade statistics (export and import values and volumes of goods), at international level. While the HS classification is used to groups commodities by the material of which the goods are composed, the SITC groups goods according to their level of manufacturing or processing. Moreover, differently from the HS, the SITC uses a 5-digit classification of goods.

The new HS 2022 edition will replace the current HS 2017 edition of the Harmonized System, entered into force on 1 January 2017, by introducing a total of 351 sets of amendments covering a wide range of goods moving across borders.

More specifically, specific provisions have been introduced for classification of electrical and electronic waste (commonly referred to as e-waste), as well as for novel tobacco, nicotine-based products and drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs), whose classification was uncertain under the previous edition of the HS. More detailed rules have been introduced for the classification of smartphones, accompanied by a specific Note that explains how to correctly classify these multifunctional devices.

Furthermore, major reconfigurations have been undertaken for the subheadings of heading 70.19 (glass fibres and articles thereof) and for heading 84.62 (metal forming machinery) to reflect the most recent technological advances in these sectors.

It also worth to be noted that in the HS 2022 edition many new subheadings have been created for dual use goods that could be diverted for unauthorized use, such as radioactive materials and biological safety cabinets, as well as for items required for the construction of improvised explosive devices, such as detonators. Goods specifically controlled under various Conventions have also been updated, like in the case of chemicals controlled under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), of hazardous chemicals controlled under the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and of persistent organic pollutants controlled under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutions (POPs).

The WCO is currently working on the development of a correlation table between the current (2017) HS version and the new edition, that will be followed by the updating of the  Explanatory Notes, the Classification Opinions, the Alphabetical Index, the HS online database and other HS-related publications, like “The Harmonized System, a universal language for international trade”.

Considered the major changes introduced by the 2022 edition of the Harmonized System, national Customs administrations and Regional Economic Communities are encouraged to start immediately the preparatory work for adapting their national Customs tariff or statistical nomenclatures to the new edition.











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