USCIB’s expert on customs Megan Giblin joined CompTIA’s Ken Montgomery as an authorized delegate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) 59th Harmonized System Committee (HSC) in Brussels, Belgium from March 15 to 24. Montgomery served as ICC head of delegation at this meeting.
Per the WCO, some key HSC deliverables included settling classification questions and disputes, revising Explanatory Notes and classification opinions, securing speedy and uniform implementation of classification decisions and drafting recommendations.
The Committee took up a number of topics including the implementation of the HS2017, re-examined the classification of several products, took global classification decisions on many other products and held preliminary discussions on yet others. Classification decisions taken at this meeting are subject to a two-month reservation period under which any administration can request that the decision essentially be placed on hold and re-examined at a future HSC session. Decisions where no reservations have been filed, become final at the conclusion of the stipulated timeframe.
A key topic of discussion for both governments and industry relates to the current version of the HS Nomenclature. The WCO owns the HS Nomenclature, the language of international trade. Today, nearly 210 countries, territories or customs unions use the HS as the basis of their domestic customs tariff.
“The HS is important. It is not only used for customs classification, but it is used as the basis of market access negotiations for free trade agreements, flagging other government agency requirements, and more. Companies of all sizes depend on timely completion of domestic processes and full implementation of the current version of the HS to ensure necessary predictability for their products,” said Giblin.
While the HS2017 entered force January 1, 2017, there are still several countries that have yet to complete domestic legislative approvals or processes necessary for implementation.
Giblin will serve as ICC head of delegation at the fall HSC meeting.