Changes in the international tariff system
The only way to control something as complex and multifaceted as international trade is to standardize all its aspects: containers, terminology, procedures, payment and collection systems… and, of course, goods. Only in this way is it possible for an agile and transparent freight forwarder such as eGlobe to make possible the link between an exporting company and an importing company, at a distance of thousands of kilometers, in a complete door-to-door operation, carried out in the most efficient way.
Tariffs and goods imply a high complexity in the supply chain since, without a homogeneous international correlation – revised and updated – carrying out international transport operations with security guarantees would be impossible.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System
In order to correctly indicate the tariffs that apply to each good, it is necessary to know exactly what the good is. There are a vast number and variety of goods that are the subject of foreign trade transactions.
There are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of goods moving around the world, from one continent to another. How can we organize them in such a way that customs agents can calculate their nomenclatures and tariff classifications efficiently?
The answer lies in the HS: Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. The international, multipurpose commodity nomenclature, developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
The HS entered into force in January 1988, with the objective of the Convention to simplify the administrative operations of international trade.
Thanks to the HS we have a method for describing and classifying our goods, which is accepted and mandatory for all countries represented in the WCO. This system is also used as a basis for the collection of international trade statistics, classifying more than 98% of goods and used by more than 200 countries and economies.
How does the HS work
The HS nomenclature and classification is established by means of a six-digit code, to which more are usually added depending on the foreign trade criteria of each country.
The Harmonized System provides several advantages:
- Tax and administrative formalities are simpler.
- It provides a common code for the parts, even if they do not speak the same language.
- It facilitates political negotiations on international trade.
- It simplifies the compilation of trade statistics.
Above all, it makes it possible to standardize administrative procedures for virtually all products that can be bought and sold. That is why HS codes are constantly updated to reflect technological changes and the emergence of new products.
2022 Edition of the Harmonized System
This is the seventh amendment since the first edition of the HS in 1988. This new 2022nd edition of the Harmonized System entered into force on 1 January. To facilitate its implementation, the WCO has published two correlation tables between the new 2022 edition and the previous 2017 edition of the HS. These tools are divided by Table I and Table II which, as stated by the WCO, are subject to change and have no legal status.
HS codes are constantly updated to reflect technological changes and the emergence of new products.
In these five years, trade patterns have changed significantly. For example, waste from electronic devices. This is both a problem and a business opportunity. In 2022, specific provisions for their sorting will be established.
New times also bring changes in the tobacco industry, with new products such as the increasingly popular electronic cigarettes.
Technological products such as unmanned aircraft, drones and smartphones, which are now closer to computer technology than to classic telephony, have gained prominence. For this reason, they now have their own subheading and note, and their classification will be clarified.
Another important section is that of products such as glass fibers and machinery such as metal forming machines. In this case, the amendment will positively affect another of the purposes served by the HS, namely trade statistics. Also, until now, there were doubts about products that are part of other sets. For example, flat screens, part of computers and tablets, which are now recognized by the Harmonized System as products in their own right.
In the health area, closely related to the pandemic, the HS considers significant changes. Rapid diagnostic kits for infectious diseases, placebos and test kits for medical research now receive a simplified classification, which also influences items with special security requirements, such as cell cultures, toxins or laboratory equipment.
We also have dual-use items, which can be diverted for illegal use: chemical precursors for explosives or synthetic drugs, radioactive materials or even elements that could be used to build detonators, are now treated in a way that allows for a higher degree of vigilance, without, of course, affecting their marketing for legitimate purposes.
Finally, attention has been paid to the clarity of the texts, to ensure homogeneity in the application of the nomenclature, especially in the translation of concepts into French and English. This particularly affected the measurement systems for raw wood (heading 44.03), which has now been aligned in both languages.
eGlobe. Your reliable customs agent
At eGlobe we put all our know-how at logistical needs service, offering you all the advantages of accompanying your operations in a comprehensive and door-to-door manner. With decades of experience in foreign trading, a field constantly changing, our customs department will be able to advise you on everything related to clearance management and the tariff coding of your goods.
In addition, we offer you information on restrictions, documentation required by customs authorities, procedures and protocols, legal, fiscal and tax advice, consultancy and all services related to customs clearance.
Ask us for a no-obligation quote, we want to be your partner.