WTO: customs new tool

9th October, 2021, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) launched a new online tool to keep track of changes in the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), the system used for the classification of traded goods. The HS Tracker, developed with the support of the World Customs Organization (WCO), is also aimed at helping customs officials and traders prepare for HS amendments that will enter into force on 1 January 2022.

The HS Tracker, which can be accessed here, brings together relevant information and documents relating to revisions to HS product nomenclatures, often resulting from changes in manufacturing processes and technological advancements, or developments in environmental and social issues.

In the new tool, the Subheading visualizer function displays graphically the manner in which a specific HS code has changed across different versions of the Harmonized System (e.g. mergers, splits and complex cases), including the explanation by the WCO on why the changes were undertaken in the context of a particular amendment. The English and French versions of these explanations, as well as the correlation tables, have been sourced directly from the WCO webpage.

The HS at a glance function provides a broad overview of the HS amendments by consolidating the different versions of the HS in one combined structure that was developed by the WTO Secretariat based on the information by the WCO and adjusted according to the different transposition exercises of the WTO Schedules of concessions. The filters and search functions make it possible to browse multiple HS nomenclatures simultaneously for a particular set of codes, and determine whether they were affected by a particular amendment to the HS.