1233.0 - Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) - Electronic Publication, Jan 2017  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/12/2016   
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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.

A draft of the proposed AHECC was released on the ABS website for comment on 26/07/2016. The 2017 HS review together with the ABS statistical code review resulted in the creation of 549 new eight digit statistical codes and the deletion of 404 eight digit statistical codes. The AHECC, revised to accommodate the HS 2017 and statistical code reviews, becomes operative for exports with a date of departure of 1 January 2017 or later. For exports with a date of departure of 31 December 2016 or earlier the current version of AHECC should be used, which is available on the ABS website: Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) - Electronic Publication, Jan 2012 (cat. no. 1233.0).

Between the major HS reviews, the ABS implements minor updates to the statistical codes of the AHECC on 1 January and 1 July each year. These minor updates result 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).


The AHECC is only available electronically in Excel spreadsheet format. The AHECC is presented in a number of tabs, as follows:

The 'Details' 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
1.3 Abbreviations
1.4 FOB Currency Codes
1.5 Countries.

Table 2 Key of Changes with separate worksheets for:

2.1 Correspondences between AHECC 2016 and 2017 which shows those codes which have changed as a result of the HS 2017 review. The correspondences are presented both from old to new and from new to old. The columns are:

Column headingDescription

AHECC 2016the statistical codes which will close on 31 December 2016
AHECC 2017the statistical codes which will replace them on 1 January 2017

2.2 Historical Table which presents the following columns:

Column headingDescription

Previous codethe statistical code that closed
Replacement codethe statistical code(s) created as a result of the closure of the previous code
Date replacedthe date the replacement code became operative (this is the day after the previous code closed)
Expiry dateindicates 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 headingDescription

Section notesinformation relevant to classifying goods in that section
Chapter notesoutlines the broad structure of the classification and provides information specific to classifying goods in each chapter within the section
Chapterpresents 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 will be released as an update of Appendix 6.1 in International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2015 (cat. no. 5489.0) to be published on 20 December 2016. Free standing descriptors were developed as a guide for statistical clients only and standard classification principles should be applied when classifying goods.

The 'Explanatory Notes' tab provides information from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about classifying goods and completing export declarations.

The classification can be accessed from the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au> by entering 1233.0 in the search bar located in the top right hand corner of the page.


Exporters, agents or statistical users requiring a hard copy of the AHECC can print their own copy via the Details tab. Select 'File', 'Print', then select 'Entire Workbook', as this will speed up the process of printing. This needs to be repeated for each Section spreadsheet required to be printed. Note that the complete AHECC comprises about 1,000 pages.

Correspondences between the 2017 AHECC and related classifications, like the Standard International Trade Classification Revision 4, Broad Economic Categories and the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006, will be available on 20 December 2016 from Appendix 6.1 in International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2015 (cat. no. 5489.0)


If you have any difficulties accessing the AHECC on the ABS website, please contact the ABS Classification Manager on (02) 6252 5409 or email international.trade@abs.gov.au.