Updated: Jan 23
The International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS Convention) entered into force on 1 January 1988 with three objectives:
to facilitate international cross-border trade and the collection, comparison, and analysis of statistics by harmonising the description, classification, and coding of goods in international trade;
to reduce the expenses related to international trade; and
to facilitate the standardisation of trade documentation and the transmission of data.
Who uses the Harmonized System and when did the changes happen?
More than 200 countries currently use the Harmonized System as a basis for their national customs tariffs. The HS is also used as a basis for the collection of international trade statistics, trade negotiations and rules of origin, and the monitoring of controlled goods.
The HS is revised every 5 years, and the HS 2022, which is the seventh edition of the Harmonized System Nomenclature, came into force on 1 January 2022. The new version of the Harmonized System Nomenclature is already available for free on WCO’s database platform: www.wcotradetools.org.
All countries’ tariff schedules will be updated in line with the amendments, though you may find that some countries continue to use HS2017 for six months or longer, so do check which tariff is applicable. The UK and EU Member States adopted the new HS2022 changes from 1 January 2022.
The new HS2022 edition made some major changes to the Harmonized System with a total of 351 sets of amendments covering a wide range of goods moving across borders. New headings and subheadings for the following are within the key changes: Smartphones, Glass Fibres, Flat Panel Displays, Diagnostic/Placebos/Clinical Trial Kits, Vehicles and Aircraft/Drones.
While the next review of the HS Codes will not be published until January 2027, work has already started on reviewing products that may require new or amended commodity codes. In the next two years, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) will be assessing applications from customs authorities and global trade bodies on the products to review for 2027.
Need further support?
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