In 1983 the World Customs Organisation adopted the Harmonized System (HS) which was developed to classify goods in international trade. Anything shipped in or out of the country has a specific commodity code which denotes what duties will apply.
In January 2017, the latest version was implemented and shippers across the globe saw a significant number of amendments. These included subheading changes, codes that have been altered, new numbers that have been added and some codes have even been removed altogether. The main issue we have seen is that some of the HS codes that remain in the tariff no longer cover the same goods as before, which has caused some shippers tremendous problems when the goods arrive and can lead to incorrect customs declarations. The changes to the tariff also have an impact on origin and preference rules under the free trade agreements.
We have clients who have registered HS codes for the products that they import and have cleared them through the new Inward Processing system but the numbers they have used have been discontinued. It can be a long process to change them to the new assigned number for the product.
It is vitally important that companies assess their commodity codes/tariff numbers as soon as possible to prevent non-compliance; after all, no one wants to get in trouble with HRMC. We are here to help should you need any further advice on the subject, so please do call the office and ask for Shaun.