5368.0.55.007 - Information Paper - Proposed classification changes from 1 January 2007 to statistical codes of the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification and the Harmonized System tariff, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/09/2006  First Issue
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The Information Paper - Proposed classification changes from 1 January 2007 to statistical codes of the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification and the Harmonized System Tariff (5368.0.55.007), announced that data cubes containing proposed new statistical codes would be progressively released. The second lot of the data cubes, tables 7 to 44, were released on Wednesday 20 September 2006. The remaining tables (13, 18, 34 and 39) plus new tables 45 and 46 are released on Monday 25 September.

Information Paper - Proposed classification changes from 1 January 2007 to statistical codes of the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification and the Customs Tariff.


This information paper outlines proposed changes to export and import statistical codes that will occur on 1 January 2007 as a result of an update to the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). This paper provides a brief background to the changes, describes how spreadsheets showing the changes within each section of the export and import classifications can be progressively accessed and describes how clients can provide feedback on any apparent errors in the statistical codes or correspondences.


A series of information papers is being provided to inform clients of changes that will be made to the classifications used to present Australia's export and import statistics. The first paper, ABS Implementation in January 2007 of Revisions to International Trade Classifications, 2007 (cat. no. 5368.00.55.005) provided the background to the changes and outlined the ABS' plans for implementing the changes. A few key points are repeated in this paper.

The HS is designed and maintained by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for the classification of internationally traded goods as they pass each country's customs frontier. Australia extends the international HS to produce the Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature and Statistical Classification (the Customs Tariff) to classify imports and the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) to classify exports. These extensions exist:

  • for Customs purposes, to differentiate between imported goods grouped under a single 6-digit HS code. This is generally driven by the need to impose varying import duty rates on similar goods. This is achieved by adding two digits to the HS code, making an 8-digit code. This extension is maintained by the Australian Customs Service (Customs); and
  • for statistical purposes, to provide a finer level of detail. This is achieved by adding two digits to the combination of HS and Customs 8-digit codes for imports and to the 6-digit HS codes for exports. These statistical codes are maintained by the ABS.

The WCO is introducing the fourth revision to the international HS on 1 January 2007. Any changes made at the 6-digit level of the international HS necessarily impact on the extensions to the HS for Australian requirements. Accordingly, Customs has reviewed the 8-digit tariff extensions for imports and the ABS has reviewed the 10-digit extensions for import statistical codes and the 8-digit extensions for export statistical codes. The new classifications will be introduced on 1 January 2007.

    The current HS structure includes 21 Sections, 96 Chapters, 1,244 headings and 5,244 subheadings. The 2007 review is estimated to impact on more than 1,000 of the subheadings in the classification.

    The proposed detailed import and export classifications were developed by the ABS after implementing the WCO changes to the 6-digit level and, in the case of imports, the changed 8-digit tariff codes determined by Customs. The initial extensions to the classifications for statistical purposes were developed by maintaining the previous dissections wherever possible. However, the ABS will not necessarily create a statistical code for each theoretical split.
    The ABS has prepared spreadsheets showing the changes from 2002 to 2007 in the AHECC and the Customs Tariff. Each section of the classifications is represented by a separate spreadsheet. Each spreadsheet comprises a worksheet for each chapter (and chapter notes for the AHECC). The worksheets are displayed with the 2002 classification on the left and the proposed 2007 classification on the right.

    The spreadsheets are presented in a consistent format, those codes with strike-through are closing, while those in bold represent new codes. Rows relating to codes not impacted by the HS 2007 review have been hidden. However, clients can unhide the rows in the AHECC spreadsheets to see how the proposed changes will appear in full context of the chapter.

    As the ABS finalises changes to sections of the AHECC, the spreadsheets displaying proposed changes will be added to the details tab of this paper. Table 1 displays the AHECC section and chapter summary with each section presented in Tables 3 to 23. A similar process will be followed for the 10-digit import statistical codes once Customs has released the 8-digit Tariff items. A summary of the import sections and chapters will be presented in Table 2 with will each section presented in Tables 24 to 44. A correspondence between the 2002 and 2007 statistical codes will also be provided separately.


    As the ABS is intending to maintain, wherever possible, the current statistical codes, clients have not been consulted in finalising the proposed changes. However, the ABS would appreciate feedback on any apparent errors in the statistical codes or correspondences. Interested parties can provide comments on the changes outlined in the spreadsheets until 6 October 2006.

    The final new classifications (including any changes resulting from errors identified by clients) will be made available progressively on the ABS website in spreadsheet format, so importers, exporters and their agents and statistical users can update their systems. It is expected that these will be available by late November 2006.


    When Harmonized System 2002 was implemented in January 2002, the ABS released a hard copy of the AHECC (about 760 pages) to subscribers (including exporters and agents). Since then the ABS has issued replacement pages (usually twice a year) as a PDF that can be downloaded from the ABS website.

    With the January 2007 changes the ABS is planning to only release the AHECC in electronic format. The format will be similar to the spreadsheets showing the HS changes (e.g. 6 digit heading, 8 digit statistical code, and UQ presented in a different column.) This format will facilitate electronic sorting and searching of the classification. The spreadsheet will be printable in a readable format but the presentation will not be as hard copy friendly as the current paper-based AHECC. Exporters, agents or statistical users requiring a hard copy of the AHECC will have to print their own copy by printing spreadsheets for each section.

    The Australian Customs Service is still planning to continue to produce a hard copy version of the Customs Tariff.
    For further information about the proposed changes, readers can:
    • visit the ABS website and view the changes via the Foreign Trade Theme Page (www.abs.gov.au, see Themes, Foreign Trade, Noticeboard - Changes to classifications used to present Australia's export and import statistics);
    • write, email or telephone:

    HS2007 Review Team
    Balance of Payments and International Trade Section
    Australian Bureau of Statistics
    PO Box 10

    ph: 02 6252 5409
    email: international.trade@abs.gov.au