The Scientific Sub-Committee

Terms of Reference for the Scientific Sub-Committee

Confirmed by the Council - June 2003

Updated - June 2005

Updated - June 2007

Established : 1987

Duration : Unspecified

1. Mandate

The Scientific Sub-Committee acts as an advisory body of the Council on questions involving chemical or other scientific matters. In practice, the Sub-Committee acts under the instruction of the Council or any of its Committees or Sub-Committees and it reports back to these WCO bodies. It also serves as forum for the exchange of views by the Customs laboratory services of Council Members.

2. Membership

As described in Rule 2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Scientific Sub-Committee, each Member of the Council and any other Contacting Party to a Convention established or administered by the Council have the right to be represented.

3. Purpose and Scope

The purpose and scope of the Scientific Sub-Committee is to :

  • assist the HS Committee and the Review Sub-Committee in their technical work, in particular with regard to questions involving the classification of chemical products;
  • assist the Council and its Committees and Sub-Committees in their work, related to all scientific and engineering aspects of Customs administration, operation and procedures; and
  • serve as a forum for the exchange of views by the Customs laboratory services of Council Members on Customs-related scientific and engineering developments and best practices.

4. Key Deliverables

The Sub-Committee's key deliverables are to :

  • advise the HS Committee on classification questions involving scientific issues;
  • draft HS legal texts and Explanatory Notes involving scientific issues at the request of the HS Committee or the Review Sub-Committee;
  • carry out studies for improvement of texts concerning chemical Chapters of the Harmonized System (mainly Chapters 25 to 40);
  • exchange views among delegates with regard to the role of Customs laboratories, analytical methods, etc.;
  • provide guidance to the Secretariat in its technical assistance programmes on Customs laboratory matters; and
  • provide scientific and engineering support and advice to the Council and any of its Committees and Sub-Committees on Customs requirements or operations.

5. Means of Operation

The Chairperson is elected from among the representatives of the members.

The Sub-Committee examines issues on the basis of documents prepared by the Secretariat, which incorporate comments and proposals from administrations.

The Sub-Committee seeks to reach agreed views on any matter examined and report them to the Council or the relevant Committee as appropriate (normally to the HS Committee). If agreement cannot be reached on a question, the differing views together with their supporting rationales are reported.

6. Resources Required

The Sub-Committee holds its sessions as and when required and subject to approval by the HS Committee and the Council. It normally holds at least one session a year.

The responsibilities of the WCO Secretariat are the same as those for the HS Committee.