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Proposals to Amend Harmonized System Nomenclature for 2022 Being Solicited

Monday, November 09, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission is soliciting through Feb. 29, 2016, proposals to amend the International Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) nomenclature for possible implementation in 2022.

In November 2014 the World Customs Organization’s HS Review Sub-Committee began its sixth systematic review of the HS and invited member countries to submit proposals for amendment. The RSC will examine the proposals submitted and forward its final proposed amendments to the Harmonized System Committee in November 2018. Thereafter the HSC will consider and agree upon the changes to be included in the WCO recommendation scheduled to be issued in June 2019. Members are then expected to implement the agreed changes in their national tariff schedules, with a Jan. 1, 2022, target date for implementation.

Review Process. In connection with this process the ITC will review any proposals submitted in consultation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Commerce. Such consultations will involve technical aspects of the proposals, levels of trade that would be affected, the extent of U.S. import and export interests, and the wording of existing HS provisions. In the course of these consultations the ITC may refine proposed HS language to take into account sound nomenclature principles, WCO criteria, changes in technology, and levels or patterns of trade.

Subject to the policy direction of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, this interagency delegation will then formulate technical proposals for possible submission by the U.S. government to the WCO. The delegation will seek to advance to the WCO the proposals that it considers likely to promote U.S. interests and meet specified criteria and considerations. Proposals received later in the process may need to be submitted for consideration during the next RSC review cycle.

Proposals Requested. The ITC is seeking from interested parties, associations and government agencies proposals for specific modifications to the HS relating to section and chapter notes and the texts of 4-digit headings and 6-digit subheadings that describe new products or technologies, modify or eliminate unclear or obsolete categories, or otherwise advance the goals set out by the HS Convention. Proposals should include specific language for HS amendment text, appropriate descriptive comments and, to the extent available, relevant trade data. Proposals should be confined to one or more of the following types of change.

- deletion of headings or subheadings with low trade volume

- creation of separate headings or subheadings to identify types of products that are now important in international trade

- simplification of the HS, whether by the modification of provisions for greater clarity or the elimination of provisions that are difficult to administer

- changes that would improve the classification of products, especially those being exported from the U.S., or assist in the administration of the HS and the more uniform classification of goods internationally

Proposals should not request changes to U.S. national-level provisions (including Additional U.S. Notes, 8-digit subheadings and 10-digit statistical annotations), to the HS Explanatory Notes, or to tariff rates (or changes that otherwise affect tariff rates).

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