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Correlations Tables for the HS 2022 Amendments successfully completed

22 octubre 2020

With the highest attendance in its history, the WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) held its 66th Session (HSC/66) from 28 September to 16 October 2020.

For the first time, the meeting was held in a blended format, with a combination of virtual sessions and on-line document-based work.  Despite the challenging COVID-19 pandemic circumstances, HSC/66, chaired by Ms. Lu GAN (China), was attended by more than 230 participants representing 91 Member administrations and 2 international and regional organizations.

The agenda of HSC/66 was developed to ensure that the package of HS 2022 tools could be delivered on time for the implementation of HS 2022 on 1 January 2022 by the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention.  With that in mind, the Committee focused on the Correlation Tables between HS 2022 and 2017 versions, and the consequential amendments to the HS Explanatory Notes.

Through the blended online sessions, productive discussions were held and important decisions were taken.  Above all, the Committee completed its examination of the Correlation Tables, which are lists of correlations between the HS 2022 and 2017 editions where there have been changes to the scope or numbering of provisions.  Although they are considered non-binding guidance and do not have international legal status, the Correlation Tables have become an essential tool to support successful implementation of the HS amendments.  They are used not only as a basis for developing the domestic correlation tables when creating new national Customs tariffs and statistical nomenclatures in countries, but also as a key component of the transposition work of HS-based international nomenclatures and agreements, including the UNSD’s Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) and the Central Product Classification (CPC), the WTO’s Schedules of Concessions, and Non-preferential Rules of Origin.  The Correlation Tables will be published on the WCO website after the report of the Committee’s 66th Session has been adopted.

The Committee also made significant progress in the consequential amendments of the Explanatory Notes to reflect the changes introduced in HS 2022 Nomenclature and to better clarify classifications under the new edition, with 16 Sections of the Explanatory Notes provisionally adopted.

In addition, the HSC sent guidance back to the HS Review Sub-Committee (RSC) to assist the RSC to finalize its work on drafting the remaining Explanatory Notes at its next Session.  A wide variety of goods and their future classifications were discussed, including disposable personal electric vaporisers, coins of numismatic interest, cartridges for 3D printers, sheet lamination machines for additive manufacturing and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) elements among others.

Several elections took place during this Session and the Committee welcomed in new Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons for the next sessions.

During his closing address, Mr. Ping LIU, Director for the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate, congratulated the Chairperson and the Committee for the successful conclusion of the session.  He expressed his appreciation of the tremendous efforts and kind understanding that all participants showed.  The goodwill and hard work of all enabled the Committee to have an efficient meeting, despite the unprecedented circumstances and various constraints under which Members and the Secretariat had to operate.  He concluded by saying that this meeting was also a valuable opportunity to trial different options for on-line voting in both live sessions and during the document-based sessions.  The understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the systems that this illustrated would contribute to the establishment of good practices for voting in blended meetings.