HS 2012

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


HS 2012 documents ​​​Explanation
​Explanatory Memorandum and FAQs

​The Explanatory Memorandum elaborates on specific changes included in the amendment of the Schedules to the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, such as the phase-down of duties in terms of agreements, technical amendments, etc.

The FAQ document contains basic questions and answers on the topic.

​Amendment of Part 1 of Schedule No. 1



​These documents contain inter alia the recommendations made by the WCO on a 6-digit level, as well as the consequential amendments on a national (8-digit) level

Part 1 of Schedule No. 1 also contains the following:

  • The phase-down of duties in terms of the free trade agreement with the European Union
  • The phase-down of duties in terms of the free trade agreement with the EFTA member states
  • The phase-down of duties in terms of MIDP
  • Reduction in the rate of duty on paper and paperboard
  • Reduction in the rate of duty on aluminium products classifiable under the tariff headings 76.06 and 76.07
  • Reduction in the general rate of duty on organic surface-active agents and primary plastic polymers
  • Technical amendments including requests for the creation of additional tariff subheadings for statistical purposes from industry and other government agencies

The Notices were published in Gazette 34772 on 2 December 2011 as follows:

​Amendment of Other Schedules

​These Notices contain inter alia consequential amendments as a result of the HS 2012 amendment implemented in Part 1 of Schedule No. 1 and were published in Gazette 34772 on 2 December 2011 as follows:

*Please take note of Note 2 in Notice R.977

​Correlation tables

​The correlation tables serve as guides to assist with the transposition of goods on a national level

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