Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, 2012

General description
Full title: Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System 2012
Abbreviation: HS 2012; Harmonized System 2012
Originating authority: World Customs Organization
Legal basis: International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.
Implementation date: 01.01.2012
Limit of operational life: 31.12.2016
Amendment date(s): In principle, revised every few years
Predecessor classification(s): Harmonized System 2007 (HS 2007)
Structure: About 7,000 headings organized in four hierarchical levels:

Level 1: sections coded by Roman numerals (I to XXI);
Level 2: chapters identified by two-digit numerical codes;
Level 3: headings identified by four-digit numerical codes;
Level 4: sub-headings identified by six-digit numerical codes.
Succint description: The HS is a classification of goods by criteria based on raw materials and the stage of production of commodities. The industrial origin criterion is considered whenever it is compatible with the main criteria set out above. It also includes a set of explanatory notes and binding rules for interpretation which form part of the Protocol of Agreement.

The HS is at the heart of the whole process of harmonisation of international economic classifications being jointly conducted by the United Nations Statistics Division and Eurostat. Its items and sub-items are the fundamental terms on which industrial goods are identified in product classifications.

Objectives: to harmonise a) external trade classifications to guarantee direct correspondence; and b) countries' external trade statistics and to guarantee that these are comparable internationally.
(Source: Spanish National Statistical Institute)
Linked classification(s): 1) Central Product Classification (CPC);
2) International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities, Third Revision (ISIC);
3) Standard International Trade Classification, Third Revision (SITC);
4) Statistical Classification of Products by Activity in the European Economic Community (CPA);
5) Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE);
6) Combined Nomenclature (CN): Full agreement at six-digit level.
Usage: Products
Main statistical applications: External Trade Statistics
Media through which available: Hardcopy: The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, 2007 Edition, Customs Co-operation Council, Brussels.
Language(s): In RAMON: Bugarian, Czech; Danish; Dutch; English; Estonian; Finnish; French; German; Greek; Hungarian; Italian; Latvian; Lithuanian, Maltese; Polish; Portuguese; Romanian; Slovak; Slovene; Spanish; Swedish. HS is available in many other languages
Address of responsible agency: World Customs Organization
Rue de l'industrie, 26-38
B-1040 Brussels
Tel.: + 32 2 508 42 11 Fax : + 32 2 508 42 39
Remark: The World Customs Organization was established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC). In June 1994 the Council adopted the informal working name "World Customs Organization (WCO)" for the Customs Co-operation Council, in order to indicate more clearly its nature and world-wide status. The Convention establishing the Organization has not been amended, and "Customs Co-operation Council" remains the official name.

The HS classification is further disaggregated at European Union level into a classification called Combined Nomenclature (CN).