The WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) held its 62nd Session from 17 to 28 September 2018 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels

02 octubre 2018

The WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) held its 62nd Session from 17 to 28 September 2018 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The session was attended by more than 170 participants representing 85 Contracting Parties to the HS Convention, one WCO Member administration and four international and regional organizations.

During his opening address Mr. Ping LIU, Director for the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate, welcomed the new Arabic and Portuguese speaking delegates and interpreters. In addition to the four languages normally used at the HSC (English and French as official languages, Spanish and Russian as working languages), HSC/62 would also be interpreted into Arabic and Portuguese: the first WCO meeting of a two-year pilot project on the use of additional languages at WCO working bodies.

The Director also informed the Committee about the imminent launch of a new project, “Harmonizing the classification of goods based on WCO standards to enhance African trade”. This project, initiated and funded by the EU and implemented by the WCO, aimed to contribute to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was launched in March 2018, and assist beneficiary African countries to not only implement and apply the HS 2022 edition, but build the capacity to successfully apply future editions, autonomously and on time, in line with the requirements of HS Convention and the needs of international and regional agreements.

Concerning the WCO Council Recommendation regarding the amendment to Article 8 of the HS Convention, to restrict the number of reservations that can be entered in respect of HSC decisions to two, Mr. Ping LIU indicated if no objections are received by the expiry of the reservation period (12 January 2019), the amendments shall enter into force on 1 January 2021.

The 62nd Session of the HSC was an exceptionally productive meeting. The Committee took 43 classification decisions related to products covered by the HS Nomenclature, including a novel tobacco product, several petroleum products and a quadrocopter, adopted three sets of amendments to the current Explanatory Notes and approved 21 new Classification Opinions.

As part of the work to prepare the Seventh Edition of the HS (HS 2022), the HSC provisionally adopted 16 sets of amendments to the Nomenclature (encompassing a large number of amendments and new provisions) and two sets of amendments to the future Explanatory Notes. Products of importance to trade such as light-emitting diode (LED) products and solar energy products, as well as those important for regulation such as Montreal Protocol gasses, will benefit from improved representation in the HS.