1 January 2012 marked the implementation of the 2012 version of the Harmonized System (HS) Nomenclature. The changes in HS 2012 reflect the amendments to the nomenclature appended to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS Convention), which were accepted as a result of the Customs Co-operation Council's (now the World Customs Organisation) recommendations of 26 June 2009.
As a signatory to the HS Convention, South Africa implements the amendments in terms of section 48(1)(c) of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964.
This is the fourth major revision of the HS since it had been approved by the Council in 1983 and implemented in 1988 and includes, on an international level, 220 sets of amendments.
The main sources of these amendments are as follows:
- Environmental and social issues of global concern, in particular the classification and coding of goods of specific importance to food security and the early warning data system of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
- New subheadings have been created for separate identification of certain edible vegetables, roots and tubers, fruits and nuts, as well as cereals
- New subheadings have also been created for specific chemicals controlled under the Rotterdam Convention and ozone-depleting substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol
- Amendments that resulted from changes in international trade patterns, such as -
- the deletion of more than 40 subheadings due to the low volume in trade
- separate identification of certain commodities in either existing or new headings
- some advancements in technology and
- amendments aimed at the clarification of text to ensure uniform application of the HS Nomenclature
The HS 2012 amendments and correlation table (Schedule No. 1) up to a 6-digit level can be viewed on the WCO website at http://www.wcoomd.org