If there is one single body to thank for how relatively easy it is to import and export goods around the world, it is the World Customs Organization (WCO). Through their “Harmonized System,” the WCO has created a single standardized reference document for more than 5,000 categories of goods. The classification and numbering system adopted by the Harmonized System is utilized by the wide majority of countries in the world, and as is a true pillar of modern global trade.
So, when the WCO announces changes to the Harmonized System, they do so well in advance because any changes will reshape how 200+ nations handle their trade. The recently published 2022 edition will be no different. It’s still two years away from being implemented, but both governments and traders alike should be keeping up with the biggest changes to come.
The Biggest Changes Coming in the 2022 Harmonized System
- New products, new challenges, new categories
A large focus of the 2022 Harmonized System is recognizing and dealing with products that are caught up in environmental or social issues. For example:
- There are new categories and procedures specifically for dealing with electronic waste (e-waste), a significant new environmental threat.
- New categories are being implemented for novel tobacco products, such as “vaping” devices, which previously lacked clear categorization.
- Unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs such as drones, also receive their own categorization and handling procedures.
- Classifying multi-purpose intermediate assemblies
Electronic goods are beginning to come in deliberately multi-purpose forms, and the intermediate assemblies are not always indicators of a final product. Flat-panel display modules, for example, could be used in several different applications, from tablet computers to “smart” refrigerators. So, in many cases, such intermediate assemblies will no longer be required to identify final use.
This will also be true of many biomedical products, such as placebos and clinical trial kits. Removing the requirements that they identify final use will both simplify and encourage trade of vital medical supplies.
- Identifying potentially dangerous dual-purpose products
To assist customs groups in thwarting terrorism and other criminal acts, the 2022 Harmonized System will recognize more products that could be misused. These include radioactive materials, some bio-medical tools, and items which could be potentially turned into improvised explosive devices.
Contact ARGO Customs Today
These are just a few of the many changes being made in the 2022 Harmonization System. If you are a regular Canadian importer, we strongly suggest you contact us at ARGO Customs to learn more details.