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Terms of Reference of the Harmonized System Review Sub-Committee

Confirmed by the Council - June 2003

Updated - June 2005

Updated - December 2019

Established: 1988

Duration: Unspecified

1. Mandate

The Review Sub-Committee (RSC) acts under the overall direction of the HS Committee with administrative support provided by the WCO Secretariat.

2. Membership

As described in Rule 2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Sub-Committee, the Sub- Committee consists of:

  • representatives of the Contacting Parties to the HS Convention;
  • representatives of any Member of the Council which is not a Contacting Party to the HS Convention; and
  • subject to invitation by the Secretary General, the following :
    • representatives of States which are not Members of the Council;
    • representatives of intergovernmental or other international organizations;
    • in consultation with the Chairperson of the Sub-Committee, any experts whose participation is considered desirable on the basis of the contribution they might be expected to make to the work of the Sub-Committee.

3. Purpose and Scope

The purpose and scope of the Sub-Committee is to:

  • pursue a review of the HS under the general guidance of the HS Committee;
  • propose to the Committee such amendments to the HS as may be considered desirable having regard, in particular, to the needs of users and to changes in technology or in patterns of international trade; and
  • prepare, to the extent appropriate, any consequential amendments to the Explanatory Notes and the Compendium of Classification Opinions for consideration by the Committee.

4. Key Deliverables

The Review Sub-Committee's key deliverables are:

  • amendments to HS legal texts at predetermined intervals for uniform application by all users; and
  • consequential amendments to the Explanatory Notes and the Compendium of Classification Opinions arising from the Article 16 legal amendments.

5. Means of Operation

The HS Committee elects the Chairperson from among the members of the HS Committee. The Sub-Committee examines issues on the basis of documents prepared by the Secretariat, which incorporate comments and proposals from administrations.

The Sub-Committee seeks to reach a consensus on any matter examined and reports to the Committee. If agreement cannot be reached on a question, the differing views together with their supporting rationales are reported to the HS Committee.

6. Resources Required

The Sub-Committee holds its sessions as and when required and subject to approval by the Committee and the Council. It usually meets twice a year. Each session lasts one to two weeks depending on the number of items on the agenda.

The responsibilities of the WCO Secretariat are the same as those for the HS Committee.