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Harmonized System (HS)

What is the Harmonized System?

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems generally referred to as "Harmonized System" or simply "HS" is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups; each identified by a six digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure and is supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification. The system is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98 % of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of HS.

The Harmonized System is governed by "The International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System" (HS Convention). The official interpretation of HS is given in the Explanatory Notes (5 volumes in English and French) published by WCO. The Explanatory Notes are also available on line, as part of a commodity database giving the HS classification of more than 200,000 commodities actually traded internationally.

The maintenance of HS is a WCO priority. This activity includes measures to secure uniform interpretation of the HS and its periodic updating in light of developments in technology and changes in trade patterns. WCO manages this process through the Harmonized System Committee (representing the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention), which examines policy matters, takes decisions on classification questions, settles disputes and prepares amendments to the Explanatory Notes. The HS Committee also prepares amendments updating HS every 5 – 6 years.

Ghana Customs & HS Convention

The current Customs Tariff of Ghana is based on the WCO's HS Convention. In implementing its obligations under the WCO HS Convention, Ghana adopted and incorporated into its national tariff system the "core" Harmonized System. The harmonized tariff schedule of GHANA is enforced under the Customs Tariff Law1993, PNDCL 330.

Tariff Structure Of Ghana

Ghana customs has adopted and incorporated the Harmonized System under the legal text of the Customs Tariff Decree, 1993, PNDCL 330..This consists of seven schedules.

  1. Import Tariff
  2. Ecowas Preferential Rates
  3. Import Exemption
  4. Export Tariff
  5. Excise Duty
  6. Import Prohibitions
  7. Import Prohibitions
Goods Classification

Under the HS, all product categories are set out in 21 sections and 96 chapters. As one of the ECOWASS member countries, Ghana has adopted the Protocol Governing the Implementation of the ECOWASHarmonized Tariff Nomenclature to harmonize the tariff nomenclature at the eight-digit level. It adheres to the six-digit commodity classification code of the HS Code of WCO but adds two digits or level codes that represent ECOWASsubheadings. Additionally Ghana has added two more digits or level codes that represent the Ghana subheadings bring the total to ten digits.


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WARNING: The information in this website is intended as a general guideline only and subject to changes without prior notice. It does not in any way replace or supersede Customs and related laws or regulations. Before relying on the information on the Website, users should independently verify its accuracy, completeness and relevance for their purposes.