Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC)
The AHECC is used in the preparation of export documentation and in the compilation of Australian export statistics
The Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) is the product classification used to identify goods being exported from Australia. This update incorporates the Seventh edition of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS2022) which commenced on 1 January 2022.
The AHECC is an extension of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System, or HS). The HS is a multipurpose international nomenclature for goods, developed and maintained by the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The HS was first adopted by Australia on 1 January 1988.
The most significant changes to the AHECC occur when the WCO periodically updates the international HS. The HS has been updated in 1992, 1996, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2022 – each time resulting in new editions of the AHECC. The WCO review cycle for the anticipated 2027 edition of the HS commenced in 2019.
Between major international updates to the HS, the AHECC is subject to minor amendments (as a result of Australian legislative changes). These minor updates are implemented by the Department of Home Affairs, Australian Border Force (ABF), and the ABS.
The Department of Home Affairs and the ABS have committed to streamlining tariff and statistical product streams where practical – reducing the burden on Australian traders and brokers, improving trade efficiency, while maintaining quality of customs and statistical processes.
Structure of classification
The AHECC is an extension of the international HS, and therefore shares the same structures and hierarchies of the international classification.
The HS (and AHECC) is organised into 21 sections, which are subdivided into 99 chapters. Section and chapter titles describe broad categories of goods. Generally, sections and chapters are arranged in order of a product’s degree of manufacture or technological complexity. Chapters are further subdivided into headings and subheadings, which describe products in more detail. Headings and subheadings are also organised in order of degree or complexity of manufacture.
AHECC codes consist of 8 digits. The first pair of digits designate the HS chapter, the second pair designate the HS heading, and the third pair of digits designate the HS subheading. The final 2 digits provide supplementary information for international trade statistics.
In addition to the AHECC codes, each section and chapter is accompanied by Legal Notes, which are designed to assist and clarify the proper classification of goods.
Sections I to XXI of the AHECC are available separately from the data downloads section (Table 1 to Table 21). Each table contains several worksheets:
- Section notes – which provide information relevant to classifying goods in that section;
- Chapter notes – which provides the broad overview of the chapter (list of HS headings) as well as notes specific to that chapter
- Chapter – which provides the HS structure, the AHECC (Export Statistical Item), the unit of quantity (UQ or quantity unit) for reporting, and the classification description of each category. Footnotes, to further clarify classification or reporting requirements also appear in these sheets.
Table 22 provides a summary of the AHECC's Sections and Chapter labels.
Table 23 provides a key of changes between issues of the AHECC.
Relationship with other classifications
The AHECC is an extension of the World Customs Organisations’ Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System, or HS). The first 6-digits of each AHECC code correspond exactly to the most detailed level of the HS.
The Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature and Statistical Classification (“Working Tariff”) is also an extension of the Harmonised System designed to support reporting of imports into Australia. As such it should be considered a ‘sibling classification’.
Like the AHECC, the commodity codes of the Working Tariff are based on the Harmonized System, and therefore the first six digits of the AHECC and statistical items of the Working Tariff will match.
Users should be aware that the Working Tariff and AHECC are not interchangeable. After the first 6 coherent digits, the structure and detail included in the Working Tariff and AHECC diverge regularly. There is no direct correspondence between statistical items of the AHECC and Working Tariff.
Economic statistical analysis classifications
The AHECC is mapped to several other classifications for the purpose of analysis of economic statistics. These include the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) and Classification by Broad Economic Categories (BEC). More information and concordances are available in the International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods publication.
History of changes
18/04/2023 – A closed commodity code in Chapter 30 has been removed from Table 6. The Key of Changes (Table 23) has also been updated to include this change.
13/04/2022 – New commodity codes were added to Chapters 30 and 31 (Table 6) and updates to unit of quantity were made for selected commodities in Chapter 44 (Table 9). As a result of these updates, the Key of changes (Table 23) was also updated.
21/01/2022 – Replacement content was provided for Tables 1-6, 9, 11, 13, 15-18 and 20-21. This replacement content updated duplicated and omitted entries across the impacted Sections. As a result of these updates, the Key of changes (Table 23) was also replaced.
22/12/2021 – Replacement content was provided for Section XI (to remove empty headings from the structure), Section XVI and XVII (to replace statistical items where the numerical code had previously been used across the history of the AHECC), and Section XVIII (to clarify the structure of heading 90.27). As a result of these updates, the Key of changes (Table 23) was also replaced.
10/12/2021 – The Key of changes (Table 23) was added to the downloads section.
03/12/2021 – This paper was first published on December 3, 2021. The initial issue included general information and the full structure of the AHECC 2022 (Tables 1 - 22).
Previous catalogue number
This release previously used catalogue number 1233.0.