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Harmonized System Nomenclature 2012

Harmonized System Nomenclature 2012

The HS, the true language of international trade

The Harmonized System (HS) is an international nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization and used by more than 200 Customs administrations as a basis for their Customs tariff and the collection of trade statistics. Both the public and private sectors use the HS as the sole means of identifying and codifying goods, in order to facilitate international trade and ensure the proper application of Customs rules.

Over 98 % of the merchandise in international trade is consequently classified in terms of the HS Nomenclature.  The HS contributes to the harmonization of Customs and trade procedures by providing one and the same code to designate the same commodity anywhere in the world.

New features in the 2012 version of the HS

The 2012 version is the fifth edition of the HS since the system came into effect in 1988.
The HS Nomenclature comprises 220 amendments in response to the need to :
-  Increase the precision of the Nomenclature texts to ensure their uniform application

- Take account of environmental concerns
Environmental issues are the main feature of the HS 2012 amendments, particularly with regard to Chapter 3 and the separate identification of certain species of fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates.  These amendments are aimed at enhancing the quality and accuracy of data relating to the trade in these commodities.  In the same vein, new subheadings have been created for the separate identification of certain vegetables, fruits, nuts and cereals, etc.

- Tailor the Nomenclature to reflect current trade practices
These amendments stem from changes in international trade patterns and include the deletion of over 40 subheadings due to the low volume of trade in these particular products.