On April 3, 2019, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) published in the Federal Register a request for proposals [Docket No. 1210–007] to amend the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System or HS) in connection with the Seventh Review Cycle of the World Customs Organization (WCO), with a view to keeping the Harmonized System current with changes in technology and trade patterns. The proposals will be reviewed by the Commission, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (Census), for potential submission by the US Government to the WCO in Brussels, Belgium.

The Commission is seeking proposals for specific modifications to the international Harmonized System (section and chapter notes, and the texts of 4-digit headings and 6-digit subheadings) that would describe new products or technologies, modify or eliminate unclear or obsolete categories, or otherwise advance the goals set out by the HS Convention. No proposals for changes to US national-level provisions (including Additional US Notes, 8-digit subheadings, 10-digit statistical annotations, and rates of duty) will be considered by the Commission as part of this review. Interested parties, associations, and government agencies should submit specific language for proposed amendments to the HS, together with appropriate descriptive comments and, to the extent available, relevant trade data. The implementation of changes in the international HS by the United States is intended to be tariff neutral.

As part of this review, the Commission particularly invites proposals concerning the following matters:

  • The deletion of HS headings or subheadings with low trade volume;
  • The creation of separate 4-digit headings or 6-digit subheadings to identify types of products that are important in international trade but are not adequately classified;
  • The simplification of the HS, whether by the modification of provisions for greater clarity or the elimination of provisions that are difficult to administer; and/or
  • The suggestion of other changes that would improve the classification of products, especially those being exported from the United States, or assist in the administration of the HS and the more uniform classification of goods internationally.

The suggested deadline for submissions: March 31, 2020.