International customs officials at the World Customs Organization (WCO) have agreed to category changes within the global Harmonized System, which categorizes products that are imported and exported around the world, for certain fish, wood and wood products, and bed nets of warp knit fabrics. Countries are now beginning their individual processes to incorporate those changes into their own domestic product category systems.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) maintains and updates the United States' product category system, the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The USITC today instituted an investigation that will lead to recommendations to the President on necessary modifications to the U.S. HTS for these products.
The U.S. and other countries have until January 1, 2018, to incorporate the changes. The USITC has posted the WCO document outlining the changes on its website at: http://www.usitc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/wco_council_recommendation_june_11_2015.pdf. As a first step, importers and exporters can view the document to determine whether they are affected.
The USITC expects to issue proposed recommendations on HTS category changes for the products in February 2016. At that time, the USITC will seek public comments on the proposed recommendations. Detailed information on how to submit comments and related deadlines will be provided at that time.
The USITC will consider all public comments, as well as comments from other U.S. agencies, in making its final recommendations. The recommendations will be submitted to the President (through the U.S. Trade Representative) by July 2016. Following expiration of a 60 day layover period before the Congress, the President may proclaim the modifications to the HTS.
More information about the USITC investigation can be found in the notice of investigation dated October 2, 2015.