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2012 HTS Changes Now in Effect
February 8, 2012


The February 3, 2012 U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) is in effect after undergoing updates primarily at the request of the World Customs Organization (WCO), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The majority of tariff changes are derived from WCO recommendations, because the HTS must be consistent with the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) and HS committee decisions at the WCO. The WCO put forth 225 amendments, affecting 5,205 tariff numbers, for this update of the international HS. These changes affect the following HTS chapters:

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9,10, 11, 27, 28, 29, 30, 37, 38, 41, 42, 44, 47, 48, 56, 58, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 71, 73, 74, 76, 82, 84, 85, 87, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 98, and 99

The International Trade Commission’s (ITC) regulations call for the WCO tariff changes to be “substantially rate neutral,” therefore modifications which change a rate of duty should be the result of recommended nomenclature changes.

The FAO requested a number of amendments involving food and agricultural goods, as it sought separate identification of food products in Chapters 1-21. The HS changes were meant to produce a compilation of security data and agriculture statistics. Additionally, the 2012 HS includes a new heading for hygiene absorbent products, which fell under HS heading 96.19 as of January 1, 2012. Amendments with significant economic and technological importance provide separate identification for biodiesel fuels, nickel-metal hydride batteries, and lithium-ion batteries.  

CBP also created Harmonized System Update 1201 on January 23, 2012, which consists of 9,350 ABI records and 2,155 harmonized tariff records. CBP requested that additional tariff numbers continue existing duty treatment of certain goods subsequent to WCO amendment. These amendments include modifications to the HTS under Section 1206 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, as well as adjustments required by the authentication of the 2012 HTS.

For further information, please contact a Barnes/Richardson attorney.

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