The U.S. International Trade Commission, which is in charge of maintaining and updating the country’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule, has started an investigation that will lead to recommendations to the White House on necessary modifications to the product category system.
International customs officials at the World Customs Organization in Brussels have recently agreed on 234 changes to the global system that categorizes products that are imported and exported around the world, and countries are beginning their individual processes to incorporate those changes into their own domestic product category systems.
The United States and other countries have until Jan. 1, 2017, to incorporate the changes.
"The first step for importers and exporters is to become aware of the changes being made at the international level," said Jim Holbein, director of the ITC office that maintains the HTS. "If they believe they will be affected, they will want to stay on top of the process as it moves forward."
The ITC has posted the WCO document outlining the changes
on its website.
ITC nomenclature analysts are analyzing the WCO document, and the commission expects to issue proposed recommendations on changes to the HTS in December. At that time, ITC will seek public comments on the proposed recommendations. Detailed information on how to submit comments and related deadlines will be also provided.
The recommendations will be submitted to President Obama via the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative by July 2015. Following expiration of a 60-day layover period before the Congress, the president may proclaim the modifications to the HTS, ITC said.