International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System to apply to HKSAR

29 Dec 2016

The Customs and Excise Department announced today (December 29) that the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS Convention) will apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) with effect from January 1, 2017.

The HS Convention facilitates trade and information exchange by harmonizing the description, classification and coding of goods in international trade through the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System) developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The application of the HS Convention to the HKSAR does not necessitate any change in our existing trade declaration policy, legislation and practice, given that Hong Kong has adopted the Harmonized System in full for trade declaration purposes since 1992.

Under the Import and Export (Registration) Regulations, every person who imports or exports any article other than an exempted article is required to lodge with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise an accurate and complete import or export/re-export declaration within 14 days after the importation or exportation of the article. The importers or exporters are required to use the appropriate Hong Kong Harmonized System commodity code published in the Hong Kong Imports and Exports Classification List (Harmonized System) to complete the declaration.

The HS Convention was adopted on June 14, 1983, in Brussels, amended on June 24, 1986, and entered into force on January 1, 1988. At present, there are 154 Contracting Parties to the HS Convention, while more than 200 countries and economies use the Harmonized System, covering over 98 per cent of the merchandise in international trade.

The full text of the HS Convention is available at the website of the WCO at

Ends/Thursday, December 29, 2016

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