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Aug 31, 2012

More Harmonised System amendments announced

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At the beginning of August, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) informed of additional consequential amendments to the Harmonised System (HS) Nomenclature 2012 edition, launched in South African on January 1.

The WCO council, at its 119th and 120th sessions, in June, adopted a supplementary corrigendum amendment to the HS Nomenclature 2012 edition. The supplementary corrigendum amendment was required in order to correct an edi- torial error in the recommendation of June 26, 2009, concerning the amendment of the HS Nomenclature for entry into force on January 1, 2012.

The corrigendum amendment reads: “Chapter 56. Subheading 5601.2. Subheading text. Delete and substitute – ‘Wadding of textile materials and articles thereof’.”

An Article 16 recommendation con- cerning the legal requirements consequential upon the corrigendum amendment to the HS 2012 will enter into force on January 1, 2017, following the procedure established under Article 16 of the HS Convention. However, by applying the corrigendum procedure approved by the council at its sessions in June, the amendment could enter into force on January 1, 2012, to reflect the situation from that date.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
On August 14, the WCO informed of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to the International Convention on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (the HS). Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a member of the WCO since July 4.

At present, more than 98% of inter- national merchandise trade is classified in terms of the HS. Through its accession, Bosnia and Herzegovina has become the 144th contracting party to the HS Convention.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in south-eastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, and has a small coastline of 20 km on the Adriatic Sea. Its principal export commodities are metals, clothing and wood products. Machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels and foodstuffs are its principal import commodities. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a potential candidate country for accession to the European Union (EU), though the challenges facing the EU might result in the acces- sion not being an immediate priority.
The HS Convention will enter into force in Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 1, 2014.

UK Tobacco Packaging
Accounting for the topical issue of the standardisation of the packaging of tobacco products is a topical issue, comments from an international influential business organisation, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), should be of interest to readers of this column. The Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), an initiative of the ICC, has responded to a UK government call for public comment on a proposal to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products by warning that such a move would result in unintended negative consequences.

According to its release, the BASCAP is concerned that standardised or plain packaging would increase the preva- lence of counterfeit goods in the market, reduce brand owners’ ability to take action against such activity and undermine the ability of consumers to make informed buying decisions. Trademarks serve these important functions for all branded goods.

The ICC statement reads: “The ability of brand owners to market their product in unique and easily identifiable ways is fundamental to the protection of intellec- tual property (IP) rights in developed societies. Removing one industry’s ability to use its IP rights is government expropriation of private property and opens the door to extend this violation to other industries and other brand owners in the UK and elsewhere.”

The BASCAP also points out that standardised packaging is likely to increase, rather than decrease, burdens on already overstretched public agencies working to enforce IP protection in the face of escalating counterfeiting and piracy throughout the EU and the rest of the world.

WCO Research Papers
The WCO has released two research papers, namely ‘Compendium of autho- rised economic operator’ and ‘The European Union aviation emissions policy and border tax adjustments’.

Applications and Amendments
There were no tariff applications (increase in the rate of customs duty, reduction in the rate of customs duty, or the rebate of the customs duty), trade remedy applications (antidumping, countervailing, and safeguards), and tariff amendments, and trade remedy amendments published on August 17.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
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