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Australia extends the HS to produce the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) (published by the ABS) to classify exports. The extensions exist:
It is mandatory for signatories to the HS convention (including Australia) to implement the revised international classification in its entirety on 1 January 2012.
The HS was first introduced on 1 January 1988 and has been revised in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2007.
The 2012 revisions affect 43 of the 98 chapters (2-digit level) in the classification through note changes and/or classification changes. Extensive revisions have been made to the structure of the classification in Chapters 1 - 3, 16, 27, 29, 61 - 62, and 96. In some instances, the WCO has retained a code even where there has been a change in the scope of that code in the 2012 version. Users of the classification need to be aware of such instances.
The most significant changes are:
In the hierarchy of the HS there were no changes made to either the description or the numbering of chapters.
A number of new 4 and 6-digit codes have been created and a number of existing 4 and 6-digit codes ceased. This has resulted in a small net increase in the number of these codes, as shown in the table below.
More information on the HS review is available on the World Customs Organization website.
CUSTOMS DUTY SPLITS
On 23 March 2011 the Customs Tariff Amendment (2012 Harmonized System Changes) Bill 2011 was introduced to Parliament. This Bill implements the HS2012 changes for Australia and defines the rates of duty and preferences that will apply to imported goods. This determines which HS 6-digit headings will be split into 8-digit headings. This may impact on some statistical codes.
AUSTRALIAN STATISTICAL CODE EXTENSIONS
Changes made to the HS 6-digit codes and the 8-digit Customs and Border Protection codes impact on the Australian statistical code extensions. Further to this, the ABS has undertaken a review of the Australian statistical code extensions. A substantial review of statistical codes was last undertaken in 1997, with a limited review undertaken in conjunction with HS 2002. These reviews strive to keep the statistical codes relevant to the needs of a wide range of users, while limiting the size and complexity of the classification by ceasing statistical codes. This assists accurate reporting. The review considers:
The result of this investigation was the proposed ceasing of a number of statistical codes spread across many chapters in the Customs Tariff. The changes resulting from this investigation will be implemented on 1 January 2012. In some cases statistical codes are impacted by changes as a result of HS2012 amendments. Free Standing Descriptors, which are designed for users of merchandise trade statistics, are being rewritten for many chapters, but are not proposed to be released until December 2011.
The spreadsheets available from the Download tab show the changes proposed for 2012. The first worksheet (Table 1) is the correspondence between ceasing codes and their proposed 2012 replacement codes. This enables users to identify the corresponding Customs Tariff statistical code for a specific commodity as of 1 January 2012.
The layout of the Customs Tariff in this information paper differs from that to be released by Customs and Border Protection. For example, in the spreadsheets statistical codes are combined with the HS 8-digit and presented as a 10-digit number. There are separate columns for 2-digit (Chapter), 4-digit (Heading), 6-digit (HS 6 Code) and 8-digit codes (Customs 8 Codes). The alignment of some statistical codes will differ from that in the Customs Tariff. The spreadsheets include some 9-digit codes which will not appear in the Customs Tariff version. The 9-digit codes have no formal use and result from the system used to produce the ABS version. Details from the Customs Tariff presented in the spreadsheets are included to assist clients' understanding of the current and proposed statistical codes. When the new version is released by Customs and Border Protection it will be in the same format as currently presented on the Customs website.
Each section of the classification is represented by a separate spreadsheet (Tables 2 - 21) and each spreadsheet includes a worksheet for each chapter in that section. The page set-up of the worksheet for each chapter is:
The complete current and proposed 2012 Customs Tariff structures are shown. Statistical codes that are unchanged will retain their current 10-digit codes and will usually appear on the same line on both sides of the spreadsheet. In some cases the WCO has changed the description of a HS code (generally to clarify what should be reported), but there has been no change to the goods classified under that code. In these cases there is no change to the correspondence.
Any current statistical codes that are not shown in the proposed 2012 structure are proposed to be ceased. New codes will be lined up as closely as possible with the codes they replace. New codes are not given a complete 10-digit code, but the relevant HS 8-digit code and an extension of two characters. If there is only one changed statistical code under a HS 8-digit code it is allocated the suffix 'xx'. If there is more than one changed statistical code under a HS 8-digit code then suffixes 'xx', 'xy' etc are allocated. When the final classification is released these suffixes will be replaced with digits to provide 10-digit codes. To identify the detail of which codes replace which codes these classification spreadsheets need to be used in conjunction with the correspondence in Table 1. The correspondence identifies codes that are proposed to cease and their replacement code(s). Some codes are partially or completely replaced by codes in other chapters.
In some cases proposed changes to statistical codes have resulted in changes to the unit of quantity. Feedback is also invited on these proposed units of quantity.
The following provides examples of the different types of changes that may occur with the introduction of the 2012 Customs Tariff. These examples are taken from Chapter 1 which can be found in Table 2.1 in the spreadsheets and Chapter 90 which can be found in Table 19.1 in the spreadsheets. Correspondence information from Table 1 is shown for these examples. Note that the descriptions of the HS codes used in these examples are not necessarily the official HS descriptions and may be abbreviated for illustrative purposes.
EXAMPLE 1 - HS2012 CHANGE ONLY
The WCO has ceased HS 0105.19 (Live poultry other than fowls of gallus domesticus and turkeys) and replaced it with:
EXAMPLE 2 - REVIEW OF STATISTICAL CODES ONLY
The ABS is proposing to cease the existing statistical codes 0105940025 and 0105940026 and replace them with a single code 01059400xx. This change is not a result of WCO HS2012 changes, but is a proposal by the ABS based on a review of the trade patterns of these codes over several years. This is a change where the ABS is seeking feedback if this loss of statistical detail will have a significant impact on the quality of reporting or on the use of the data by industry or government.
EXAMPLE 3 - COMBINATIONS OF HS2012 CHANGES AND REVIEW OF STATISTICAL CODES
The WCO HS2012 has ceased HS codes 9007.11 (Cameras of less than 16 mm) and 9007.19 (Cameras of 16 mm or more), and replaced them with a new HS 6-digit code 9007.10 (Cameras). The HS code 9007.19 was split into two statistical codes for Surveillance cameras (9007.19.00.40) and Other cameras (9007.19.00.93).
The proposed new structure does not includes this statistical code split under the new HS 6-digit code 9007.10. This is based on the expected trade in the new categories being expected to be low. While the ABS cannot change the HS 6-digit codes, the ABS will accept feedback on any resulting loss of statistical detail which will have a significant impact on the quality of reporting or on the use of the data by industry or government.
Users of detailed international merchandise trade statistics may be affected when the changes to the Customs Tariff are implemented on 1 January 2012. There will be breaks in the time series for some categories, or combinations of categories, where there is no direct translation between the current and 2012 versions of the classification. The ABS will not be back casting any data to remove these breaks in series, but the classification correspondences will be available for users who wish to do their own analysis. At this stage, approximately 5,900 of the 8,600 imports statistical codes will be unaffected by the changes.
Confidentiality restrictions which apply to current statistical codes which are ceasing will continue to be applied to the proposed corresponding codes. Any new confidentiality restrictions applied from 1 January 2012 will be reviewed in 2012 as data become available. In addition, in accordance with normal procedures, the restrictions will be reviewed every two years, unless there are changes in trading patterns.
OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED STATISTICAL CODE CHANGES
The ABS is intending to maintain the current statistical splits where there is a sufficient value of trade. However, there will be wide spread ceasing of statistical codes due to the review outlined above. The ABS would welcome comments on the proposed changes to the Customs Tariff statistical codes and units of quantity outlined in the spreadsheets. Comments should include the following details:
Further consultation with individual clients may be required once submissions have been received and before the Customs Tariff can be finalised. After the consultation period, the ABS will provide Customs and Border Protection with the statistical codes to be included in the Customs Tariff on 1 January 2012. Customs and Border Protection will release the new Customs Tariff on their website. Final correspondences and Free Standing Descriptors for the 2012 codes will not be made available by the ABS until December 2011.
DUE DATE FOR FEEDBACK
All feedback is required by 17 June 2011. Written submissions should be forwarded to:
or mailed to:
Classification and Confidentiality Manager
Balance of Payments and International Trade Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
Further information or queries regarding this paper should be directed to Andrew Gibbs of the Balance of Payments and International Trade Section on (02) 6252 5409 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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