Nomenclature Sub-Directorate

The Nomenclature and Classification Sub-Directorate is the section in the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate of the World Customs Organization that primarily deals with the promotion, development and maintenance of the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System and the promotion of a series of Harmonized System related issues such as pre-entry rulings and modernization of classification work to enhance predictability and transparency for the benefit of the business community.

Correct and uniform application of the Harmonized System Convention (Harmonized System or HS) in an efficient manner facilitates international trade and investment and promotes compliance with fiscal and trade rules or laws.

The Sub-Directorate accomplishes its work through committees composed of representatives from each of the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention, WCO Members and representatives of other international organizations and trade associations:

  • The Harmonized System Committee (HSC)
  • The Harmonized System Review Sub-Committee (RSC)
  • The Harmonized System Working Party
  • The Scientific Sub-Committee (SSC)

The Sub-Directorate has also developed recommendations to WCO Members that, if implemented, will contribute to trade facilitation. The Recommendations concerning the application of the HS concern:

  1. The introduction, at national level, of additional subheadings in administrations statistical nomenclatures to control or to monitor international trade in certain commodities;
  2. The facilitation of the collection, comparison and analysis of international statistics; and
  3. The promotion of objective, predictable and transparent classification practices.

Furthermore, in addition to the HS Explanatory Notes and Compendium of Classification Opinions, the Sub-Directorate has developed various tools for WCO Members in order assist them and assure correct and uniform application of the HS in an efficient manner:

  • Guidelines on Tariff Classification Work and Related Infrastructure.
  • Diagnostic Tool on Tariff Classification Work and Related Infrastructure.
  • The Alphabetical Index to the Harmonized System.
  • The Classification Handbook.
  • HSC Decisions 1st-46th Sessions
  • Training and E-learning materials
  • Amendments and Correlation Tables
  • Interconnection Table

In order to assist our Members in the context of the HS, the Sub-Directorate provides capacity building activities in the form of national and regional seminars, workshops or training courses on the implementation and uniform application of the Harmonized System. National activities may have a multipurpose character (i.e., HS classification combined with classification infrastructure discussions) or may be an expert mission, which concentrates on one specific issue related to the HS. Regional activities are mainly devoted to classification issues of concern to the countries of that particular region.