The HTS or Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature is updated by the World Customs Organization every 5 to 6 years. This is not a mandatory review time frame. The latest version of the harmonized tariff code is 2017. There is no 2019 version.

Similar to Incoterms that are reviewed every few years by the International Chamber of Commerce, HTS codes are also only reviewed every few years by the World Customs Organization.

Why isn’t there a Harmonized Tariff Code 2019?

If no major changes need to be made to the tariff classification system, the WCO will not need to publish reviews to the existing version of the code. Each time the WCO publishes any reviews or amendments to the HTS code, it triggers an avalanche of work for the over 200 countries that are a member of the WCO.

This is because countries then have to:

  1. Modify country specific versions of the code to match WCO’s version
  2. Decide tariff rates for any new codes that get created
  3. Update their declarations portals to accept the revised codes
  4. Inform importers and exporters about the updated codes
  5. Update licensing conditions for any new codes created
  6. Inform importers and exporters about updated licensing conditions
  7. Review the text of existing Free Trade Agreement HS Schedules for any possible impact
  8. Negotiate and publish changes to impacted Free Trade Agreements
  9. Prepare and publish appropriate guides and matching tables for traders to reference

What can importers and exporters expect when HTS Codes get updated next?

Traders can expect HTS codes to be updated next sometime in 2022 or 2023. Of course, this is just a guess. When WCO starts to review the HS code system it will issue press releases when drafts are ready and also collect inputs from countries. When the WCO is ready, it will publish the new version of the tariff nomenclature. Countries will then decide on implementation time frames and work out appropriate guidelines to inform traders of any changes they need to be aware of. The adoption rate of countries can vary, and range from anywhere between a few months to a even a couple of years.

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