Trade News: Important Revisions to the Harmonized System of Product Classification

From Datamyne: By the Numbers. With the New Year, an updated 2012 edition of the 6-digit Harmonized System (HS) of product classification codes overseen by the World Customs Organization (WCO) goes into effect.

It’s the fourth such update, the culmination of a five-year process of review and amendment to ensure the global system of nomenclature for trade goods clearly identifies what’s actually being bought, sold and subjected to tariffs. Some 40 subheadings are being retired because trade in these products has slipped below a defined threshold (currently US$50 million) – although the banishment of HS 530810, coir yarn, has been stayed by appeal.

On the other hand, distinct codes will be available for the first time to identify water pipe tobacco (240311), lithium-ion batteries (850760), and quinoa (100850). Changes in trade volumes, new inventions and/or product evolution can signal the need for reclassification.

In the US, in anticipation of HS 2012, the International Trade Commission (ITC) adopted many of its classification changes with the 2011 edition of the 10-digit Harmonized Tariff System of the US (HTSUS). Among the notable additions are codes to identify separately fruits, vegetables, coffee, and grains (under headings 0709, 0804, 0808, 0810, 0901, 0902, and 1201) that are “Certified Organic”, an increasingly important subset of trade in these products.

From U.S. Census -Global Reach: India is seeing rapid economic growth, a growing middle class, and increased urbanization. India’s GDP in 2009 was the 11th largest in the world and 4th-largest in purchasing-power parity terms. GDP growth is expected to reach approximately 8% each year through 2015. Between 2002 and 2009, U.S. goods exports to India quadrupled, growing from $4.1 billion to more than $16.4 billion. India has large potential for investments in infrastructure in order to continue its growth: over $1 trillion in infrastructure development needs between now and 2030 including energy (renewable and civil nuclear), health care (medical technology, pharmaceuticals, and health IT), defense and homeland security, civil aviation (aircraft and infrastructure), retail and franchising, and ICT.

PIERS: PIERS Data Shows U.S. Containerized Exports Drop 3% in October – Struggling European Markets Led Losses. U.S. containerized exports contracted in October for the first time in 4 months as European markets softened markedly. Overall U.S. containerized exports fell 3.0% Year-Over-Year in October totaling 1,008,273 TEUs, after climbing 10.3% in September.

Year to date, through October, overall U.S. containerized exports were still up 7.1%. However, PIERS/JOC, Economist, Mario Moreno’s recent updated forecasts point to a 5.8% growth for full year 2011, and slower growth for 2012 at 3.8%. On a month to month basis, exports rose 1.3% in October over September.

Demand from Europe continues to decline as European economies struggle with ongoing sovereign debt problems and decelerating manufacturing activity. On a country level, Brazil led the losses driven by a marked slowdown in economic activity, which led policymakers to reverse tightening policy. Exports to Brazil plunged 25% to a total of as demand for miscellaneous plastic products (-59%), wood pulp (-40%), and unclassifiable chemicals (-32%) reversed sharply. Italy and Hong Kong followed, each dropping by 34%  and 11% respectively.

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