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The Harmonised System (HS) administered by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) has been updated. The HS corresponds to the first six digits of the European Customs Tariff and is therefore crucial for the classification of goods. This in turn can have a significant impact on, among other things, import duties payable or existing binding tariff information (vZTA). Importing companies should therefore review their handling practices and, in particular, update master data and, if necessary, apply for new vTAs.

242 Changes in the Harmonized System 2017

While the Combined Nomenclature is updated annually by the European Union, the World Customs Organisation is now undertaking the fifth major revision of the Harmonised System. The amendments concern the following sections of the nomenclature:

The changes range from linguistic adjustments to the deletion and creation of new HS positions and HS sub-items. The HS is to be modernized and adapted to technical progress and the development of world trade.

Consequences of the changes to the HS

The changes to the HS could have considerable consequences for companies. It is conceivable, for example, that individual tariff numbers have been dropped and that customs declarations will therefore not be accepted. It is also conceivable that a product would now have to be assigned to another tariff authority with different tariff rates and that this would be neglected by the importer. This can lead to unjustifiably high or unjustifiably low import duties. Existing vTAs may automatically have become ineffective, so that they may have to be applied for again. Some companies would have to check whether they need to adapt their master data to the new legal situation.

Our customs lawyers check the impact of the HS change on your business.

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