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 Immigration and Border Protection, and to assist users interpret export statistics published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The classification is based on the six digit international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) for describing internationally traded goods. The ABS extends the six digit international HS by two digits to provide a finer level of detail to meet Australian statistical requirements (Statistical codes).
The most significant changes to the AHECC occur when the WCO periodically updates the international HS. The international HS and the AHECC have been updated in 1992, 1996, 2002, 2007 and 2012. This update incorporates the 2017 international HS changes and associated AHECC changes. The next international update is scheduled for 2022.
Between the major HS reviews, the ABS implements minor updates to the statistical codes of the AHECC. These minor updates usually result from legislative changes, or, less frequently, from the evaluation of requests from users of export statistics for additions or changes to commodity information. Information on how requests can be submitted, and are assessed, is available from Information Paper: International Trade Classification Feasibility Studies, 2001 (cat. no. 5499.0.55.001).
Structure of classification
The AHECC is only available electronically in Excel spreadsheet format. The AHECC is presented in a number of tabs, as follows:
The Downloads tab displays the following spreadsheets:
Table 1 AHECC Summary of Classification Codes and Abbreviations with separate worksheets for:
1.1 Summary of Classification
1.2 Unit of Quantity
1.4 FOB Currency Codes
Table 2 Key of Changes with separate worksheets for:
2.1 Correspondences between iterations of the AHECC – presented in both ‘new to old’ and ‘old to new’ formats. The correspondences are presented both from old to new and from new to old.
2.2 Historical Table which presents the following columns:
|Column heading||Description |
|Previous code||the statistical code that closed|
|Replacement code||the statistical code(s) created as a result of the closure of the previous code|
|Date replaced||the date the replacement code became operative (this is the day after the previous code closed)|
|Expiry date||indicates when a code used to replace a previous code is subsequently closed (if blank this indicates the replacement code is still operative)|
Tables 3 – 23 AHECC Sections,
each of which comprises the following worksheets:
|Worksheet heading||Description |
|Section notes||information relevant to classifying goods in that section |
|Chapter notes||outlines the broad structure of the classification and provides information specific to classifying goods in each chapter within the section |
|Chapter||presents the classification of a chapter within the section. Each worksheet shows 2, 4, 6 and 8 digit codes, unit of quantity and description in different columns. This format facilitates electronic sorting and searching of the classification |
The chapter notes and chapter classification are in sequential order for each chapter within that section.
Table 24 AHECC Complete File which includes the complete AHECC, with 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 digit codes, and headings in different columns for use by exporters and agents to upload into their own computer system. Free standing descriptors are available in Appendix 6.1 in International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2015
(cat. no. 5489.0). Free standing descriptors were developed as a guide for statistical clients only.
The 'Explanatory Notes' tab provides contact information for the Department of Home Affairs regarding classifying goods and completing export declarations.
Printing of classification
Exporters, agents or statistical users requiring a hard copy of the AHECC can print their own copy via the Downloads tab. Note that the complete AHECC comprises about 1,000 pages.