International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Brussels, Belgium
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 01/01/1988

Category

Customs

Sub category

Customs Codification

Groups

OPENESS TO MTRSWCO

What is it about?

The identification of goods is an important element of customs work. Such identification allows for the correct application of customs tariffs and it improves the collection of trade statistics. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) is an internationally accepted method for the identification of goods. The HS establishes an international nomenclature that allows goods to be categorized quickly and accurately. The harmonized system includes approximately 5000 categories of goods classified by a six-digit code. The system also contains 21 sections, 97 chapters and 1241 headings at the four-digit level, 930 of which are further divided into sub headings. States that have agreed to the Harmonized System Convention are committed to employing the six-digit system. They may also use a more detailed classification system with a greater number of digits at the national level. Goods are classified according to objective criteria that are designed to be precise in their application. The harmonized system is used by States as a foundation for commercial negotiations, the collection of data on international commerce, the control of quotas, and the application of customs tariffs. It is subject to revisions every four to six years, to reflect changes in both technology and in international trade.

Why is it relevant?

The harmonized system is used by nearly 180 countries and is applied to more than 98% of the goods traded worldwide. It is a valuable tool for the implementation of customs laws. It reduces costs for both the public and private sector, as countries do not need to invent their own classification system. Developing countries that adopt this Convention have the possibility to opt for a partial application of the harmonized system, depending upon the specifics of their administrative capacities. Technical assistance is also offered to adapt their nomenclatures to the harmonized system.

Additional Information

Member states of the World Customs Organization may ratify this Convention. The Harmonized System Committee is responsible for proposing amendments to the Convention and to ensure a uniform application and interpretation of the harmonized system.

  • Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System of 14 June 1983 (Brussels, 24 June 1986)

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Country ratifications
CountryRatification date
Albania16/05/2012
Algeria24/10/1991
Andorra11/07/2006
Angola04/04/2011
Argentina11/01/1994
Armenia05/01/2009
Australia22/09/1987
Austria22/09/1987
Azerbaijan07/07/2000
Bahamas13/09/2011
Bahrain14/12/2001
Bangladesh22/09/1987
Belarus21/10/1998
Belgium22/09/1987
Benin24/07/2006
Bhutan27/10/2006
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)27/04/2004
Bosnia and Herzegovina14/08/2012
Botswana13/02/1987
Brazil08/11/1988
Brunei Darussalam28/06/2014
Bulgaria30/10/1990
Burkina Faso25/09/1990
Cambodia01/01/2003
Cameroon16/05/1988
Canada14/12/1987
Cape Verde19/05/2008
Central African Republic11/06/1998
Chad05/09/1990
Chile17/02/2005
China23/06/1992
Colombia21/10/2002
Comoros07/01/2013
Congo27/03/2007
Costa Rica03/07/2012
Cote d'Ivoire25/01/1990
Croatia29/09/1994
Cuba03/11/1995
Cyprus21/03/1994
Czech Republic16/11/1993
Democratic Republic of the Congo10/11/1987
Denmark22/09/1987
Djibouti12/06/2015
Dominican Republic07/09/2006
Ecuador22/10/2008
Egypt27/05/1999
Eritrea17/01/2003
Estonia26/05/1993
Ethiopia01/03/1995
Fiji23/12/1997
Finland22/09/1987
France22/09/1987
Gabon07/07/2000
Georgia27/03/2009
Germany22/09/1987
Ghana29/06/2007
Greece15/07/1988
Guatemala18/09/2014
Guinea23/09/1997
Guinea-Bissau23/05/2013
Haiti17/01/2000
Hungary27/08/1990
Iceland28/10/1987
India23/06/1986
Indonesia05/07/1993
Iran28/02/1995
Ireland22/12/1987
Israel05/08/1987
Italy31/05/1989
Japan22/06/1987
Jordan10/06/1985
Kazakhstan26/03/2004
Kenya29/07/1988
Kuwait27/11/2003
Kyrgyzstan04/01/2007
Latvia04/01/1996
Lebanon03/05/1996
Lesotho12/12/1985
Liberia26/06/2010
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya17/05/1993
Lithuania20/06/1994
Luxembourg11/07/1988
Macedonia (The former Yugoslav Republic of)31/03/1995
Madagascar22/12/1987
Malawi25/10/1988
Malaysia15/12/1987
Maldives07/07/2000
Mali15/06/1994
Malta20/12/1989
Mauritania04/03/2004
Mauritius10/06/1985
Mexico06/09/1991
Moldova10/06/2004
Mongolia30/09/1991
Montenegro23/03/2007
Morocco27/02/1992
Mozambique11/10/2012
Myanmar05/12/1994
Namibia05/05/2004
Nepal25/08/2006
Netherlands22/09/1987
New Zealand22/09/1987
Niger16/03/1990
Nigeria15/03/1988
Norway27/08/1987
Pakistan22/09/1987
Panama24/08/1998
Papua New Guinea18/12/2013
Paraguay12/01/2007
Peru09/07/1998
Philippines28/06/2001
Poland12/09/1995
Portugal04/11/1987
Qatar28/09/2004
Republic of Korea27/11/1987
Romania05/12/1996
Russian Federation18/06/1996
Rwanda29/07/1992
Sao Tome and Principe02/07/2013
Saudi Arabia10/03/1988
Senegal21/09/1989
Serbia01/07/2002
Sierra Leone12/06/2015
Singapore30/11/2005
Slovakia07/06/1993
Slovenia23/11/1992
South Africa25/11/1987
Spain28/09/1987
Sri Lanka03/05/1988
Sudan10/12/1993
Swaziland26/11/1985
Sweden22/09/1987
Switzerland22/09/1987
Syrian Arab Republic12/11/2007
Tajikistan06/07/2005
Thailand16/12/1991
Togo12/02/1990
Tunisia28/10/1987
Turkey15/12/1988
Uganda11/07/1989
Ukraine26/08/2002
United Arab Emirates01/07/2002
United Kingdom22/09/1987
United Republic of Tanzania24/01/2008
United States of America31/10/1988
Uruguay17/10/2011
Uzbekistan17/11/1998
Venezuela23/10/1998
Viet Nam26/03/1998
Yemen30/09/2002
Zambia22/12/1986
Zimbabwe05/11/1986
Treaties analysis
YearRatifications
19854
19863
198730
198811
19894
19907
19914
19926
19936
19946
19955
19964
19972
19987
19991
20004
20012
20025
20033
20046
20053
20065
20076
20083
20092
20101
20113
20124
20134
20142
20152
Total155
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