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New standard for customs entered into force

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Staff Writer |
Trade   Developed by the World Customs Organization

The new version of the Harmonized System (HS) Nomenclature entered into force on January 1.

Developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and adopted in 1983, this is the Sixth Edition of this global standard, used by over 200 countries and Economic or Customs Unions (including the 154 Contracting Parties to the HS Convention) for classifying goods in international trade.

"Given the vital role this instrument plays in facilitating trade and in ensuring connectivity between trade actors, I would urge its speedy implementation by Customs and by the public and private sectors worldwide", said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya.

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.

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