Explanatory Notes

The Explanatory Notes (5 volumes in English and French) do not form an integral part of the Harmonized System Convention.  However, as approved by the WCO Council, they constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level and are an indispensable complement to the System.

The Explanatory Notes provide a commentary on the scope of each heading, giving a list of the main products included and excluded, together with technical descriptions of the goods concerned (their appearance, properties, method of production and uses) and practical guidance for their identification..  Where appropriate, Explanatory Notes also clarify the scope of particular subheadings.

The Explanatory Notes are available by subscription, 6th edition (2017) and can be purchased at the WCO Online Bookshop.  The Explanatory Notes are also available on online and on CD‑ROM, as part of the Harmonized System Database.