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It is mandatory for signatories to the HS convention (including Australia) to implement the revised international classification in its entirety on 1 January 2017. There are also a set of Complementary amendments to the Harmonized System. It is mandatory that these be implemented by 1 January 2018. However, it is recommended that changes be implemented on 1 January 2017 and this is the approach adopted by DIBP and ABS.
The HS was first introduced on 1 January 1988 and has been subsequently revised in 1990, 1996, 2002, 2007 and 2012. The 2017 revisions affect 41 of the 98 chapters in the classification through note changes and/or classification changes. Extensive revisions have been made to the structure of the classification in Chapters 3, 29, 38, 44, 84, 85, 87 and 96.
The most significant changes are:
In the hierarchy of the HS there were no changes made to either the description or the number of 2-digit chapters.
A number of new 4 and 6-digit codes have been created and a number of existing 4 and 6-digit codes ceased.
More information on the review is available on the World Customs Organization website <http://www.wcoomd.org/en.aspx>.
The ABS has prepared a proposed AHECC, which is presented in spreadsheets showing the changes from 2012 to 2017. The spreadsheets are available from the Download tab in this publication. The first worksheet (Table 1) is the correspondence between ceasing codes and their proposed 2017 replacement codes. This enables users to identify the corresponding AHECC statistical code for a specific commodity as of 1 January 2017.
Each section of the classification is represented by a separate spreadsheet (Tables 2 - 21) and each spreadsheet comprises a worksheet for each chapter. The page set-up of the worksheet for each chapter is:
The complete current and proposed 2017 AHECC structures are shown. Statistical codes that are unchanged will retain their current 8-digit codes and will 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 2017 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 8-digit code, but the relevant HS 6-digit code and an extension of two characters. If there is only one changed statistical code under a HS 6-digit code it is allocated the suffix, eg. 'xx'. If there are more than one statistical codes under a HS 6-digit code then suffixes 'xx', 'xy' 'etc are allocated. When the final classification is released these suffixes will be replaced with digits to provide 8-digit codes. To identify the detail of which codes replace the previous 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 codes. Some codes are partially or completely replaced by codes in other chapters.
The following provides examples of the different types of changes that may occur with the introduction of the 2017 AHECC. Example 1 is taken from Chapter 44 which can be found in Table 10.1 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 - HS2017 CHANGE ONLY
The WCO has ceased HS 4419.00 (Tableware and kitchenware, of wood) and replaced it with:
This change means that the statistical code 44190000 will cease and be replaced by the codes 441911ab, 441912ac, 441919ad and 441990ae. This is a change that is required under the WCO changes so is provided for information only, and is not subject to consultation.
EXAMPLE 2 - COMBINATIONS OF HS2017 CHANGES AND REVIEW OF STATISTICAL CODES
The WCO has ceased HS code 9406.00 (Prefabricated buildings) and introduced new codes 9406.10 (Prefabricated buildings of wood) and 9406.90 (Other prefabricated buildings). The HS code 9406.00 was split into three statistical codes for Aluminium (94060020), Iron or steel (94060030) and Other (94060040).
The HS2017 structure is:
The proposed new structure includes a statistical code split for Other (9406.90) to Of Iron and Steel (940690xy) and Other (940690xz). This is based on the expected trade in the new categories. This means that Aluminium prefabricated buildings will no longer have their own statistical code. There will be no proposed split for Prefabricated buildings of wood, so the statistical code is 940610xx.
Users of detailed international merchandise trade statistics may be affected when the changes to the AHECC are implemented on 1 January 2017. 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 2017 versions of the classification. The ABS will not be backcasting 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 4,500 of the 6,000 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 codes directly replacing them. Any new confidentiality restrictions applied from 1 January 2017 will be reviewed 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 are widespread ceasing of statistical codes due to the review outlined above. The ABS would welcome comments on the proposed changes to the AHECC statistical codes outlined in the spreadsheets. The ABS is obliged to implement the international Harmonized System so changes can only be made to statistical code (ie 8-digit) changes. Also, there is a separate process to request additional statistical code splits. See Information Paper: International Trade Classification Feasibility Studies, 2001 (cat. no. 5499.0.55.001).
Comments should include the following details:
Further consultation with individual clients may be required once submissions have been received and before the AHECC can be finalised. After the consultation period, the AHECC to be implemented on 1 January 2017 is scheduled to be published in November 2016 in Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) - Electronic Publication, Jan 2012 (cat. no. 1233.0). The revised classification will become operative from 1 January 2017 and will be incorporated into the January 2017 issue of International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0).
The proposed statistical codes for the 2017 Customs Tariff update will be available for comment (in a similar process to the AHECC) later this year.
DUE DATE FOR FEEDBACK
The ABS requests all feedback be provided by Friday 19 August 2016. Written submissions should be forwarded to:
or mailed to:
Further information or queries regarding this paper should be directed to the Classification and Confidentiality manager, International Trade in Goods and Services section on (02) 6252 5409 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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