The World Customs Organisation (WCO) has published the accepted amendments to the Harmonized System (HS) Nomenclature that will enter into force on 1 January 2017. It includes 233 sets of amendments, divided as follows : agricultural sector 85; chemical sector 45; wood sector 13; textile sector 15; base metal sector 6; machinery sector 25; transport sector 18; other sectors 26. Click here to view.
The 2017 edition of the HS Nomenclature includes 5,386 six-digit subheadings (compared to 5,205 in the 2012 edition). The HS is used by countries as a basis for their national Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. The World Trade Organization and individual countries use the HS as the common language of trade for the purposes of trade negotiations, and as a basis for determination of the origin of goods. However, amendments made to the HS reflect more than just a need for statistical data or the setting of tariff rates; they allow the trade in goods, especially those having a social and environmental impact, to be monitored and controlled. The amendments made to the HS over the past decades reflect this concern, with environmental and social issues of global interest being major features of the HS 2017 amendments, as was already the case in the preceding, 2012 edition.

The number of digits of the commodity code you should use depends on whether you are importing or exporting and the type of goods. The HS level is based on 6 digits, for goods being exported this increases to 8 digits and for imports 10 digits. In some cases (such as Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) imports) another 4 digits are needed. Although many countries have signed up to the same classification system their classifications are specific to their own country. If you rely on the classification code from an overseas supplier when importing, you’ll need to check it also applies to the UK. Likewise for exporting the correct UK code must be used.

All the codes can be found in the online Trade Tariff tool and we recommend these are checked on at least an annual basis.

For further information please contact Marie White on 01254 356448 or