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Summary of Treaty

Official Title International Convention on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System
Type of Agreement Multilateral
Place of Signature Brussels
Date of Signature 14/06/1983
Date of Entry Into Force 01/01/1988
Duration Indefinite
Objective of Agreement To facilitate international trade by establishing a uniform system for the collection, comparison and analysis of international trade statistics, and for the transmission of data and trade documentation, and through the establishment in the States party of tariff and statistical nomenclatures in conformity with an international harmonised system. The Nomenclature governed by the Convention on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, commonly known as "HS Nomenclature", is an international multipurpose nomenclature which was elaborated under the auspices of the World Customs Organisation (WCO). At present there are 116 contracting parties to this Convention, however, it is applied by more than 190 administrations worldwide, mostly to set up their national customs tariff and for the collection of economic statistical data. More than 98% of all goods traded in the world are classified according to the HS.
Remarks The European Union and its Member States together represent a block of 26 contracting parties to the aforementioned Convention. The Annex on the Harmonised System nomenclature is an integral part of the Convention. The HS Nomenclature comprises about 5,000 commodity groups which are identified by a 6-digit code and arranged according to a legal and logical structure based on fixed rules. The Combined Nomenclature of the European Community (EC) integrates the HS Nomenclature and comprises additional 8-digit subdivisions and legal notes specifically created to address the needs of the Community. The official interpretation of the HS which provides for its uniform interpretation worldwide is ensured by the HS Committee which comprises representatives from the contracting parties to the HS Convention. Other administrations, international organisations, international commerce and industry are represented as observers. Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System. Brussels, 24/06/1986. OJ L 198 of 20/07/1987, p.11-409. Amendments to the Nomenclature. Brussels, 05/06/1989.
OJ Reference L198, 20/07/1987, p. 3
Depositary World Customs Organisation
Contracting Parties European Economic Community, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Authentic Texts English, French
Subject Matters Combined Nomenclature
customs cooperation
customs harmonisation
international convention
Management Harmonized System Committee
Other Links
Date of Signature 10/06/1985
Conclusion Date 22/09/1987
Ratification Status R
Conclusion Decision Council Decision of 7 April 1987 concerning the conclusion of the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System and of the Protocol of Amendment thereto; OJ L 198 of 20/07/1987, p.1
Date of Entry Into Force 01/01/1988
Competence Mixed
Voting Right(s)
EC + MS together only 1 vote Article 6 Convention
Legal Basis Treaty EEC: Article 113
Treaty EEC: Article 28
Treaty EEC: Article 235

Last Update :   09/08/2007