Major changes to Harmonized System (HS) took place in 2012

Is your company ready?

The World Customs Organization’s (WCO) recommended changes to the Harmonized System (HS) took place in 2012. These major changes usually take place every 5 years. The bulk of changes are in food-related chapters (1-21). Other chapters with notable changes include:

  • Water-pipe tobacco (24)
  • Biodiesel (27 and 38)
  • Mercury compounds (=> 28)
  • Water-jet cutting machines (85)
  • Video game machines (95)
  • Diapers, etc. (96)

In all, the WCO’s recommendation includes 204 amendments in 53 different HS chapters, affecting 108 different headings and 39 legal notes. These changes are intended to update the nomenclature or clarify the classification of particular goods. More detailed information about these changes refer to the United States International Trade Commission’s Final Report to the President dated June 2010.

Once the President signs and approves the changes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), the Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census bureau will make changes to the Schedule B and Automated Export System (AES). A free version of the Schedule B can be found on-line at:

Get ready now and avoid disruptions to your export shipments. For additional information or questions about HS 2012 contact the Trade Information Center at 800-872-8723 or