HS Codes and the Transport Sector
by Izaak Wind
With a view to facilitating international trade, a commodity classification system was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). This system is laid down in the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (done at Brussels, on 14 June 1983), also known as the “Harmonized System” or “HS”. As of 1 July 2009, 137 countries and economic or Customs unions are contracting party to this convention and another 70 countries and economic or Customs unions apply the system on a voluntary basis for Customs tariff and statistical purposes, thus covering over 98 percent of global trade.
Since the Harmonized System is updated on a more or less regular basis - sets of amendments came into force on 1 January 1992, 1996, 2002 and 2007, respectively - users may refer to different editions. Any reference in this paper to HS headings, subheadings and Section, Chapter or Subheading Notes, is based on the fourth edition (2007) of the Harmonized System.
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