Posted on 26/04/2018 in category BIR

World Customs Organisation: Work to better identify E-Waste at Customs

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (“Harmonized System” - HS) is a multipurpose international nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization for the classification of goods. It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six-digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification. Products are described in in Sections and Chapters in terms of headings and sub-headings. The system is used by more than 200 countries as a basis for their customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Under the HS all goods including wastes, are regarded as commodities.

The Secretariat of the Basel Convention has proposed amendments to the HS in order, amongst other things, to establish wherever possible a one-to-one relation between the Basel waste codes and the HS by: (a) Defining specific codes in the HS corresponding the Basel waste codes to avoid the use of general codes; (b) Isolating waste from non-waste; and (c) Isolating hazardous waste from non-hazardous waste. Dependent on the Harmonized System Review Sub-Committee completing its work on the identification of e-waste by the end of 2018, and barring reservations, new e-waste codes will be included in the HS and enter into force on 1 January 2022.

BIR members will be discussing these issues in detail during the upcoming World Recycling Convention in Barcelona (28-30 May 2018) and more specifically at the E-Scrap Committee meeting on Monday 28 May at 15.00 to 16.00 hrs.