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Explanatory Notes

The Explanatory Notes (5 volumes and Amending Supplements) 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 on It can also be purchased via the WCO Online Bookshop.