1233.0 - Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC), Jan 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/12/2004   
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Contents >> Introduction and explanatory notes >> 1.3 Classifying goods to the AHECC

Goods are classified according to the general rules for the interpretation of the Harmonized System, as presented in Section 1.2. The following notes are provided to assist in understanding the HS classification and in determining the correct AHECC items to be used in making Customs export declarations. They are not exhaustive but try to cover the most important aspects of the classification of goods.


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.

Sections 1 to 15 classify raw materials including manufactures classified by material. Sections 16 to 21 classify manufactures not classified by material.

Goods obtained from the same material are generally grouped together and are arranged progressively from the raw material or less manufactured product through to the finished or more highly manufactured product.

Certain categories of exports, for example, goods re-exported after being imported for industrial processing and some ships and aircraft stores, are not classified in the normal manner and are included in either Chapter 98 or 99. For further details see Section 1.4.


The following general principles should be followed when classifying goods:

  • determine the broad category to which the goods fall for example, raw materials or semi-manufactures and finished goods;
  • select the appropriate section and chapter from the Summary of Classification, Section 2.1;
  • review the Section and Chapter notes, as these notes can affect your classification decision;
  • examine the 4-digit headings in the chosen chapter to determine the most appropriate 6-digit headings; and,
  • consider all the detailed 8-digit classifications under the selected 6-digit item to select the most appropriate code.

The following points should also be borne in mind when classifying goods:
  • classification by end-use can at times be misleading: a given commodity could, perhaps, be applied to a variety of end uses, for example, cut timber. Products of this nature should therefore be classified according to their material content; and,
  • in some instances, however, the end-use is very clear, and the value-added in adapting the commodity for that end use high. In such instances, classification by end use is appropriate, for example, typewriter ribbons of silk should be classified to 9612.10 'Typewriter and similar ribbons' not 5007.20 'Fabrics of silk'.

For further details see Section 1.2.


When classifying parts it is important to consider:
  • parts for general use do not take the classification of the whole goods unless indicated to the contrary by a heading at the 4-, 6-, or 8-digit level for example, 7315 'Chain and parts thereof, of iron or steel';
  • where parts can be identified as being mainly for use with particular machines or apparatus they are classified under the same 4-digit heading as that particular machine or apparatus but not necessarily under the same 8 digit AHECC item; and,
  • when a part is given a specific item number in the AHECC that item should be used even when the part is for a specific machine or apparatus. However, the preceding point applies if the part is in a single consignment of mixed parts of what is essentially a complete machine. For example, timing gears for railway locomotives should be entered specifically as timing gears (AHECC item 8483.40.10) not as parts of locomotives (AHECC item 8607.91) unless they come in a single consignment with other parts for assembly of an essentially complete locomotive.


If you require assistance in classifying goods for export contact the AHECC Advisory Service within the Australian Customs Service on 1300 363 263. Further information about contacting the Customs AHECC Advisory Service is outlined in Section 1.10.

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