The WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) held its 59th Session from 15 to 24 March 2017 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels

31 March 2017

The WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) held its 59th Session from 15 to 24 March 2017 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels.  More than 118 participants representing 69 Contracting Parties to the HS Convention, one WCO Member administration and four international organizations attended.

During this session, it was announced that the number of Contracting Parties to the HS Convention had risen to 156 following the accession of Burundi (in January 2017) and Palestine (in March 2017).

The HSC took some 22 classification decisions related to products covered by the HS Nomenclature as a whole.

Productive discussions were held on how to classify products newly released on to the world market, in areas such as cutting-edge technology (for example 3D printers), the textile industry (for example laminated fabrics and articles made thereof) or the tobacco industry, with a useful exchange on how a new tobacco product should be classified.

The Committee adopted 33 sets of amendments to the Explanatory Notes and approved 20 new Classification Opinions.  It revised four other existing Opinions, and deleted one Opinion in the light of the 2017 version of the HS.

As part of the work to prepare the HS 2022 (seventh edition), eight amendments to the Nomenclature were adopted and some decisions on the classification of goods were submitted to the HS Review Sub-Committee for consideration of possible amendments to the Nomenclature to facilitate the classification of various products, such as laminated knitted or crocheted gloves.

The Committee also looked at re-opening the examination into the possible amendment to Article 8 of the HS Convention with a view to speeding up the decision-making process for the HS Committee by limiting the number of reservations in respect of its decisions.

This meeting provided delegates with an opportunity to present a status report and an account of their countries’ progress on implementing the HS 2017.  As of 1 January 2017, more than 82 Contracting Parties had implemented the HS 2017, as required by the Council Recommendation and the HS Convention, and a number of delegates described how far their countries had progressed and when they expected to implement the HS 2017.

Lastly, the Committee looked at the position of Contracting Parties with respect to application of the new Recommendation, adopted by the WCO Council in July 2016, on the insertion in national statistical nomenclatures of subheadings to facilitate the monitoring of the international movement of goods required for the production and use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).