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National Classifications


Country / Area: Australia

Classification category: Product classifications

General information
1 (a)Name of the current national classification (full name in official national languages and in English with acronyms in brackets, should be given)N/A
1 (b)In which language(s) is the classification available?N/A
1 (c)Can the classification (or information about it) be accessed on the Internet? If yes, please provide the URL.Australian imports and exports classifications are based on the HS classification, in that the first six digits of both the imports and exports classification are the HS classification.

The exports classification, AHECC, has had two extra digits added to it (1234.56.78). The seventh and eighth digits are referred to as statistical codes or keys. They have been added to the classification to allow further disaggregation of the HS specifically for Australian experience.

The imports classification, HTISC, has had four extra digits added to it (1234.56.78.90). The seventh and eighth digits are referred to as tariff items and the ninth and tenth digit are the statistical codes. The tariff items have been added to the classification to allow separate identification of duty rates. And, the ninth and tenth digits, the statistical codes, allow the further disaggregation of the HS specifically for Australian experience.

Classification structure
2 (a)Please describe the structure of the classification: How many levels does the classification have? (Please provide labels, such as “Division”, “Class”) How many categories exist at each level?Exports: 5500 (as at June 2000)

Imports: 7600 (as at June 2000)

2 (b)Please provide examples of the coding system used at each level.Yes
Relationship to international standards
3 (a)Is this classification based on (or linked to) an international standard classification? If yes, please describe.Imports: Australian Customs Service and Australian Bureau of Statistics
Exports: Australian Bureau of Statistics
3 (b)Is the classification structure identical to the international standard or, if not, how does it differ? (e.g. have additional levels been added to the international standard or have changes been made within the level of the international structure, such as aggregations or additional breakdowns)Imports: Tariff Legislation Area, Australian Customs Service
ph: + 61 2 6275 6506
fax: + 61 2 6275 6471

Exports: Classification Manager, International Trade Section, Australian Bureau of Statistics
ph: + 61 2 6252 5409
fax: + 61 2 6252 7438
email: international.trade@abs.gov.au

3 (c)Please describe deviations from the international standard (in terms of structure, methodology or application rules). Please use examples, if a general statement is not possible.www.abs.gov.au
3 (d)At what level of the international standard can data be reported for international comparison? (Please provide examples of programmes / indicators if reporting takes place at different levels of the classification.)The HS was introduced on 1 January 1988 for both exports and imports statistics. Since then it has been regularly updated as part of the WCO process. The next update will occur for 1 January 2002.
3 (e)If no links to international classifications exist or no international standard is used, please state if there are plans to use international norms in the future.International changes are implemented when they are announced by the appropriate international organisation and after consultation.

The Australian classification is regularly updated on 1 January and 1 July each year at the most detailed level. This update reflects changes at the most detailed level to streamline the classification and to make it relevant to Australia and changing circumstance.

Classification uses
4 (a)Please state for which statistical purposes (surveys etc.) this classification is used and if there are users outside of the Statistical Office. Please indicate at which level the classification is used for data collection and for data publishing.The classification is used as the basis of recording imports and exports of goods. Exporters, importers and their agents use the classification when filling in Customs forms, which form the basis of the detailed statistical data disseminated. Broad aggregates are published using the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC Rev. 3).
4 (b)Please give the names of institutions that use the classification for non-statistical purposes (as opposed to statistical purposes in question 4(a)). Also indicate the kind of use (e.g. tax offices, social security, customs, enterprise register, employment services, work permits etc.)The HS classification is not used in any survey run by the ABS. It is a requirement of Customs forms that the AHECC or the HTISC are used to classify goods for export or import. Customs forms require reporting at the 10 digit (HTISC) or 8 digit (AHECC) level.
4 (c)Please indicate if alternative classifications are used by other institutions of the economy. Are these classifications available and useful for the Statistical Office?Data on a HS basis are not included in publications, but are available on request from the ABS, on a fee for service basis.
Implementation / revision status
5 (a)Please state the date of the official adoption of the classification. If not yet adopted, please indicate the current state (e.g. in development, sent for approval, in printing, ready to be distributed etc.)English
5 (b)Please state the date of use of the classification for individual statistical programmes.Exports: No (however, the classification codes are available electronically)
Imports: Yes
5 (c)Are there existing plans for revision or update of the current classification?Exports: Yes
Imports: Yes
5 (d)Name of former (previous) national classification (full name in both national tongue and in English with acronyms in brackets, should be given)For both the exports and the imports classification the explanatory notes have been elaborated by adding Additional Notes.
5 (e)Please describe the link of the former classification to international classificationsThe ABS and Customs are regularly asked for help in finding items in the classification. The words used are not always those used in the industry or sector making the import or export.

Please describe the kind of problems that have occurred (interpretation, methodology, etc)

A common question relates to technology. Computers, software and CDs are difficult to find and classify in the tariff. Another example is grains for animal consumption and human consumption. In this case the words 'animal consumption' and 'human consumption' are hidden in the Harmonized System Explanatory Notes' rather than explicitly in the classification itself.

5 (f)Please describe the structure of the former classification and indicate the number of items at each level of the classification. (similar to question 2(a))A review of the terminology used in the HS would be beneficial.
5 (g)Do conversion tables exist between the former and current classification?Classifications are used for the following purposes:

Australian Customs Service - Customs
Australian Quarantine Inspection Service - Quarantine facilitation
Department of Industry Science and Resources - Setting duty rates
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Tariff bindings

Classifications are also used by importers, exporters and import and export agents.

5 (h)When was the former classification implemented?N/A
Supporting documents
6 (a)Have national explanatory notes and/or guidelines been elaborated?Imports: Australian Imports Commodity Classification (AICC); and Customs Tariff with Statistical Key (Simplified Tariff).
Exports: Australian Exports Commodity Classification (AECC)
6 (b)Do correspondence tables exist between the national and the international classifications (if applicable)?They were based on the international classifications of the time.
6 (c)Are correspondence tables between alternative and current classification available (if applicable)?Again they were extended using additional digits for an Australian perspective of the international classification.
6 (d)Does a national coding index exist?Unknown.
6 (e)Is the classification available in electronic form? If yes, in which formats is it available?(e.g. PDF, TXT, Excel, XML)Yes, the historical concordances are available as at 1 January 1988.
6 (f)Are the correspondence tables or indexes available in electronic form?Imports: 1981
Exports: 1981
Contact information
7 (a)Name of institution / office responsible for the development and maintenance of the classificationNone

Source: UN questionnaire, 11/28/2000