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Harmonised System 2012 and trade statistics

This page outlines code changes that will be introduced to the Harmonised System classification (HS2012), and shows how these changes will affect trade statistics through provisional concordances between HS2007 and HS2012.

Five-yearly review of Harmonised System

The Harmonised System classification is used by New Zealand and more than 190 other countries as a basis for their customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. This classification has minor changes every quarter, but every five years undergoes a significant review. (See Harmonised system for more information about the New Zealand Harmonised System Classification.)

Harmonised System 2012 (HS2012), the upcoming significant revision, will be implemented by the New Zealand Customs Service and Statistics New Zealand from 1 January 2012.

How the codes have changed

Based on provisional information, 1,053 current HS codes will be replaced by 1,469 new codes under HS2012.

For 724 of the HS 10-digit codes, the only change has been a change in code (giving a one-to-one concordance between HS2007 and HS2012 codes). Of these 724 codes:

  • 16 have changed at the 2-digit (chapter) level
  • 23 codes have changed at the 4-digit level
  • 653 codes have changed at the 6-digit level.

Two hundred and eighty seven current 10-digit codes have been split into multiple codes (giving a one-to-many concordance). The majority of the codes have been split into two, however some have been split into as many as 15 new codes.

One hundred and five current 10-digit codes have been consolidated into 49 new codes (giving a many-to-one concordance).

The many-to-one and one-to-many concordances are not mutually exclusive. Some current codes have been split into multiple codes under the new classification, therefore included as a one to many concordance, however, one or more of these new codes from the previously mentioned split, are also combined with other codes, therefore also being included within the many-to-one concordance.

There is also one new code, 9619.00.99, which has been added as a ‘not elsewhere classified' (nec) code for the new 6-digit category 9619.00 – Sanitary towels (pads) and tampons, napkins and napkin liners for babies and similar articles, of any material; and therefore does not concord to any current code.

The most changes occur in chapter 3 (Fish and crustaceans, molluscs, and other aquatic invertebrates), with 457 current codes (out of 582) either changing, splitting, or being consolidated. However, none of the current codes change chapter, and only three codes change at the 4-digit level. There are however 10 codes currently from other chapters which are new to chapter 3 under HS2012.

How these changes will affect overseas merchandise trade statistics

The only way to estimate how these changes will affect trade statistics is by applying the changes to existing data.

The following tables show how the data has changed at a chapter level, for both imports and exports. Where a HS code has been split, the assumption has been made that the value is evenly distributed between the new codes. In reality, this is unlikely to happen, therefore the following tables should only been used as an indication to how the data might change.

The exception to this assumption is the change for exports in the 4-digit code 3501 being split between 3501 and 2852, where our research has found that this is unlikely to be a significant change.

Note that the analysis for these tables is based on a provisional concordance for HS2007 to HS2012. The final concordance may differ slightly when HS2012 is released on 1 January 2012.

Table 1
Exports, 2-digit (chapter) changes, year ended December 2010 (fob(1) NZ$million)

Table showing changes in export values, to 2-digit level, between HS2007 and HS2012. 

Table 2
Imports, 2-digit (chapter) changes, year ended December 2010 (cif(1) NZ$million)

Table showing import changes, 2-digit level, from HS2007 to HS2012.

The notable increases in both exports and imports are led by chapter 96 (Misc manufactures), followed by chapter 28 (Inorganic chemicals), and chapter 30 (Pharmaceutical products) in imports. The offsetting decreases in value are from a variety of codes, however the notable decreasing chapters are as follows: chapter 48 (Paper and paperboard), chapter 39 (Plastics and articles), chapter 61 (Apparel and clothing accessories; knitted or crocheted), and chapter 63 (Textiles, made up articles).

The majority of these movements in value can be summed up by the following change:

  • A new heading has been created – 96.19 for sanitary towels (pads) and tampons, napkins and napkin liners for babies and similar articles, of any material.

Since these items are made from a variety of materials, under HS2007 they are found in a large range of chapters. Under HS2012, these items will be included together in chapter 96 (Misc manufactures).

Changes at the 4-digit level

See ‘Available files’ at the top of the page for two tables showing the changes at the 4-digit level: 

  • Exports, 4-digit changes, year ended December 2010 (fob NZ$million)
  • Imports, 4-digit changes, year ended December 2010 (cif NZ$million).

For further information

If you have any questions, would like any further information, or if you are an existing user of overseas trade statistics and would like to know how these changes affect you directly, please email overseastrade@stats.govt.nz.

Related links 

Published 15 September 2011

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