HS 2022: A first look

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

last updated: 31 January 2020

HS 2022, which is the seventh edition of the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature used for the uniform classification of goods traded internationally all over the world, has been accepted by the all Contracting Parties to the Harmonized System Convention. 

Entry into force

It shall come into force on 1 January 2022.

What is the HS?

The HS serves as the basis for Customs tariffs and for the compilation of international trade statistics in 211 economies (of which 158 are Contracting Parties to the HS Convention).  The new HS2022 edition makes some major changes to the Harmonized System with a total of 351 sets of amendments covering a wide range of goods moving across borders. 


Adaption to current trade through the recognition of new product streams and addressing environmental and social issues of global concern are the major features of the HS 2022 amendments.

Changing trade patterns

Visibility will be introduced to a number of high profile product streams in the 2022 Edition to recognise the changing trade patterns. 

1) e-Waste

Electrical and electronic waste, commonly referred to as e-waste, is one example of a product class which presents significant policy concerns as well as a high value of trade, hence HS 2022 includes specific provisions for its classification to assist countries in their work under the Basel Convention. 

2) Vaping (Novel tobacco and nicotine)

New provisions for novel tobacco and nicotine-based products resulted from the difficulties of the classification of these products, lack of visibility in trade statistics and the very high monetary value of this trade.  

3) Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, also gain their own specific provisions to simplify the classification of these aircraft. 

4) Smartphones

Smartphones will gain their own subheading and Note, which will also clarify and confirm the current heading classification of these multifunctional devices.

5) Reconfigurations for glass fibres (70.19) & 84.62 (metal forming machinery)

Major reconfigurations have been undertaken for the subheadings of heading 70.19 for glass fibres and articles thereof and for heading 84.62 for metal forming machinery.  These changes recognize that the current subheadings do not adequately represent the technological advances in these sectors, leaving a lack of trade statistics important to the industries and potential classification difficulties.

6) Multi-purpose intermediate assemblies:

One area which is a focus for the future is the classification of multi-purpose intermediate assemblies.  However, one very important example of such a product has already been addressed in HS 2022: Flat-panel display modules will be classified as a product in their own right which will simplify the classification of these modules by removing the need to identify final use. 

7) Health & Safety

Health and safety has also featured in the changes. 

  • Simplified classifications for rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases kits

  • New provisions for placebos and clinical trial kits for medical research (enabling classification without information on the ingredients in placebos will assist in facilitating cross-border medical research).

  • Cell cultures and cell therapy are among the product classes that have gained new and specific provisions.  

8) Dual-Use Items

Protection of society and the fight against terrorism are increasingly important roles for Customs.  Many new subheadings have been created for dual-use goods that could be diverted for unauthorized use, such as radioactive materials and biological safety cabinets, as well as for items required for the construction of improvised explosive devices, such as detonators.

9) Update under Conventions, Boards and Protocols

Goods specifically controlled under various Conventions have also been updated. 

  • Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC): New subheadings for specific chemicals controlled under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

  • Rotterdam Convention: Controls for certain hazardous chemicals controlled

  • Stockholm Convention: Controls for certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

  • International Narcotics Control Board (INCB): new subheadings have been introduced for the monitoring and control of fentanyls and their derivatives as well as two fentanyl precursors. 

  • Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol: Major changes, including new heading Note 4 to Section VI and new heading 38.27, have been introduced for controlled gases

10) Uniform application

The changes are not confined to creating new specific provisions for various goods.  The amendments also include clarification of texts to ensure uniform application of the nomenclature.  For example, there are changes for the clarification and alignment between French and English of the appropriate way to measure wood in the rough for the purposes of subheadings under heading 44.03.


While January 2022 may seem far off, a lot of work needs to be done at WCO, national and regional levels for the timely implementation of the new HS edition.  The WCO is currently working on the development of requisite correlation tables between the current 2017 and the new edition of the HS, and on updating the HS publications, such as the Explanatory Notes, the Classification Opinions, the Alphabetical Index and the HS online database.


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