Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

www.stats.govt.nz

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Why the Harmonised System changes

This page explains why the Harmonised System changes and how those changes affect users of our data.

Background

The New Zealand Harmonised System Classification (NZHSC), which is the main output classification for merchandise trade data in New Zealand, is based on the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).
 
The international HS follows a hierarchical structure, comprising 21 sections, 98 chapters (2 digit), 1229 headings (4 digit), and 5,394 sub-headings (6 digit). This structure is further broken down into approximately 15,300 statistical keys (10 digit) for New Zealand's purposes (as the NZHSC).

The United Nations recommends the use of the HS as the primary commodity classification for the collection, compilation, and dissemination of international merchandise trade statistics.

The WCO is responsible for the HS, updating it with a significant review every five years. Minor quarterly updates at the 10-digit level of the HS are New Zealand-specific, and are implemented into the NZHSC and managed by New Zealand Customs. The latest five-yearly update, HS2017, came into effect on 1 January 2017 and replaced the previous version, HS2012.

An up-to-date trade commodity classification is essential for maintaining the relevance, accuracy, and international comparability of New Zealand trade statistics.

Why the Harmonised System changes

Changes to the HS occur for many reasons, including the removal of codes that are no longer traded under, and the addition of codes to monitor trade patterns, social issues, technological advancements, and environmental concerns.

In the HS2017 update, most of the changes to the classification were suggested by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and revolve around monitoring specific commodities.

For example, many codes in Chapter 03 (Fish, Crustaceans, and Molluscs) were changed and amended to reflect the FAO’s intent to enhance the coverage of fish species for food security purposes and better management of fishery resources.

Changes to Chapter 44 (Logs, Wood, and Wood Products) were implemented in order to monitor the trade patterns and improve the coverage of endangered wood species (specifically, tropical hardwood trade).

In an effort to monitor trade in substances controlled by the Chemical Weapons Convention, new sub-headings for specific chemicals and organic pollutants were introduced. Alongside this, sub-headings were created in an effort to monitor trade in pharmaceutical products that contain ingredients used in the manufacture of illegal drugs.

Amendments to the motor vehicles chapter split out hybrid and all-electric motor cars from traditional petrol or diesel motor cars.

Issues with a changing Harmonised System

Changes to the HS can result in issues when analysing data at the 10-digit level, as over time one code may change multiple times. For example, a 10-digit may have split into two codes with the HS2012 update, then with a quarterly update one of those codes may have changed to include a wider range of goods. This can make it difficult to track the initial code over a long time series.

Contact us

See Harmonised Classification 2017 for more information about the HS changes and how the recent HS2017 update affects trade data, or email overseastrade@stats.govt.nz.

See Harmonised System 2017 for general information about the HS2017 classification and its concordance with other classifications, or email classifications@stats.govt.nz.

Published 3 March 2017

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Top
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+