1233.0 - Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) - Electronic Publication, Jan 2017  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/06/2019   
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Purpose of the AHECC

1 The Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) is designed for use by exporters, customs brokers and freight forwarders in the classification of goods when providing export declarations to the Department of Home Affairs, as well as to assist users in the interpretation of export statistics published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

2 The AHECC is based on the 6–digit items of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System or HS). The HS is a broad classification system of approximately 5,000 6–digit headings which are used to classify internationally traded goods as they enter or leave a country. It was developed and is maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO). First introduced on 1 January 1988, it has been adopted by most trading nations, including Australia. It enables information on traded goods to be compared internationally.

3 Australia expands the international HS to produce two different classifications for imports and exports. These classifications are the Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature and Statistical Classification (referred to as the Customs Tariff or simply the Tariff) and the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (referred to as the AHECC).

4 In relation to the AHECC, the ABS expands each 6–digit HS code by adding an additional 2–digit statistical code in order to provide a finer level of detail. An AHECC code for exports therefore comprises eight digits.

5 The AHECC has a structure comprising four levels, namely, sections, chapters, headings and sub–headings. At the section level, the main purpose is to provide a limited number of categories which will provide a broad picture of the goods being internationally traded. The chapter (2–digit level), heading (4–digit level) and sub–headings (6–digit level) provide increasingly detailed dissections of the broad categories.

6 More details on the statistical items included in both the AHECC and Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature can be found in the 5489.0 International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods.


General rules for the interpretation of the harmonized system and further assistance

7 Rules for classification of goods in the Harmonized System are prescribed in Schedule 2 of the Customs Tariff.

8 If you require assistance in classifying goods for export contact the Tariff Advice System on 1800 053 016.

9 The ABS cannot provide official advice nor rulings on classification matters.


Chapters 98 and 99 of the AHECC

10 The content of Chapters 1 to 97 of the AHECC is defined in the Harmonized System, but the ABS has included two additional Chapters in which goods are not classified on a commodity basis.


CHAPTER 98 Special transactions and commodities not classified according to kind

11 This chapter includes:

  • donated or bequeathed goods;
  • goods re–exported from Australia after being imported for industrial processing;
  • goods exported from Australia which are to be re–imported after industrial processing;
  • exports of mixed goods (including ship and aircraft stores being loaded on foreign registered ships and aircraft) where four or more commodities in a single consignment are reported, with a value of less than $5,000 for each commodity (excluding goods in bond subject either to excise or customs duty). Exports coded to AHECC item 9809.00.01 may include: small value ships' and aircraft stores; small value shipments of mixed goods; shipments of small value commodities associated with the initial installation of large scale projects. Goods requiring a permit should not be classified to this AHECC, but should be classified by kind. The exceptions are goods requiring an AQIS or Horticulture Australia permission and first aid kits; and
  • The ABS may contact traders, for further information, where the total value of the entry under this code will exceed $200,000.

12 All exports with values of $5,000 or more per commodity (including ships' or aircraft stores in bond and subject to excise or customs duty) should be recorded under their substantive AHECC items.


CHAPTER 99 Commodities and transactions not included in merchandise trade

13 This chapter includes goods that the United Nations defines as being outside the scope of merchandise trade statistics. Goods recorded in this chapter are known as non–merchandise trade and are not included in Australia's international merchandise export statistics. Non-merchandise trade is further described in the 5489.0 International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods.


Availability of trade statistics

14 Information lodged by exporters, importers and their agents, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, is used by the ABS in compiling and publishing export and import statistics for macroeconomic estimates.

15 The 5489.0 International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods provides an overview of the suite of international merchandise trade statistics that are published by the ABS.