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Major changes to Harmonized System (HS) taking place in 2012

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Sunday, 18 December 2011 12:01

Is your company ready for the upcoming changes in HS 2012?

The end of 2011 is upon us and we wanted remind our clients of the major changes that are being made in 2012 to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). These changes take place every five years or so. According to the latest information from the U.S. Government, the World Customs Organization's (WCO) recommended changes to the Harmonized System (HS) are scheduled to take effect on or about January 2012. The majority of these changes are in the food-related chapters (1-21); however, important changes will be made to the following chapters as well:

  1. Water-pipe tobacco (24)
  2. Biodiesel (27 and 38)
  3. Mercury compounds (28)
  4. Water-jet cutting machines (85)
  5. Video game machines (95)

The WCO's recommendation includes 204 amendments in 53 different HS chapters, affecting 108 different headings and 39 legal notes. These changes are intended to update the nomenclature or clarify the classification of particular goods. More detailed information about these changes refer to the United States International Trade Commission's Final Report to the President dated June 2010.

According to the federal government, once the President signs and approves the changes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), the Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census bureau will make changes to the Schedule B and Automated Export System (AES). A free version of the Schedule B can be found on-line at: www.census.gov/scheduleb.

AES users will need to download new tables for import and export codes as usual in January 2012. There will be a 30 day grace period during which AES will accept the old HS codes. This grace period is expected to end on January 31, 2012. Using old HS codes after January 31, 2012 will result in transaction failures for your AES filings.


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