On 22 October the World Customs Organization (WCO) announced that, with the highest attendance in its history, the WCO Harmonized System (HS) Committee (HSC) had held its 66th Session from 28 September to 16 October.
For the first time, the meeting was held in a blended format, with a combination of virtual sessions and on-line document-based work. Despite the challenging COVID-19 pandemic circumstances, HSC/66, chaired by the People Republic of China (China), was attended by more than 230 participants representing 91 Member administrations and two (2) international and regional organisations.
The agenda of HSC/66 was developed to ensure that the package of HS2022 tools could be delivered in time for the implementation of HS2022 on 01 January 2022 by the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention. With that in mind, the Committee focused on the Correlation Tables between HS2022 and 2017 versions, and the consequential amendments to the HS Explanatory Notes.
Through the blended online sessions, productive discussions were held, and important decisions were taken. Above all, the Committee completed its examination of the Correlation Tables, which are lists of correlations between the HS2022 and HS2017 editions where there have been changes to the scope or numbering of provisions. Although they are considered non-binding guidance and do not have international legal status, the Correlation Tables have become an essential tool to support successful implementation of the HS amendments. They are used not only as a basis for developing the domestic correlation tables when creating new national Customs tariffs and statistical nomenclatures in countries, but also as a key component of the transposition work of HS-based international nomenclatures and agreements, including the UNSD’s Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) and the Central Product Classification (CPC), the World Trade Organization (WTO) Schedules of Concessions, and Non-preferential Rules of Origin (RoO). The Correlation Tables will be published on the WCO website after the report of the Committee’s 66th Session has been adopted.
The Committee also made significant progress in the consequential amendments of the Explanatory Notes to reflect the changes introduced in HS2022 Nomenclature and to better clarify classifications under the new edition, with 16 Sections of the Explanatory Notes provisionally adopted.
In addition, the HSC sent guidance back to the HS Review Sub-Committee (RSC) to assist the RSC to finalise its work on drafting the remaining Explanatory Notes at its next Session. A wide variety of goods and their future classifications were discussed, including disposable personal electric vaporisers, coins of numismatic interest, cartridges for 3D printers, sheet lamination machines for additive manufacturing and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) elements among others.
Story by: Riaan de Lange