Harmonized System Codes and the World Customs Organization (WCO)

Article 13 of the Convention encouraged the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to assign specific Harmonized System Codes (HS Codes) to the individual chemicals or groups of chemicals listed in Annex III. Parties are required to ensure that, when exported, the shipping document for that chemical bears the appropriate HS code.

Harmonized System Codes developed by the WCO provide an international standard for the identification of chemicals listed in Annex III. As many Parties to the Rotterdam Convention are also members of the World Customs Organization, most customs authorities are already familiar with the use of these codes. The assignment of specific HS Codes to the chemicals in Annex III should facilitate integration of work on the Rotterdam Convention with the current activities of customs authorities and contribute to the effective implementation of the PIC procedure.

Harmonized System Codes assigned to Annex III chemicals by the World Customs Organization

Article 13

Information to accompany exported chemicals

1. The Conference of the Parties shall encourage the World Customs Organization to assign specific Harmonized System customs codes to the individual chemicals or groups of chemicals listed in Annex III, as appropriate.  Each Party shall require that, whenever a code has been assigned to such a chemical, the shipping document for that chemical bears the code when exported.

2. Without prejudice to any requirements of the importing Party, each Party shall require that both chemicals listed in Annex III and chemicals banned or severely restricted in its territory are, when exported, subject to labelling requirements that ensure adequate availability of information with regard to risks and/or hazards to human health or the environment, taking into account relevant international standards.

3. Without prejudice to any requirements of the importing Party, each Party may require that chemicals subject to environmental or health labelling requirements in its territory are, when exported, subject to labelling requirements that ensure adequate availability of information with regard to risks and/or hazards to human health or the environment, taking into account relevant international standards.

4. With respect to the chemicals referred to in paragraph 2 that are to be used for occupational purposes, each exporting Party shall require that a safety data sheet that follows an internationally recognized format, setting out the most up-to-date information available, is sent to each importer.

5. The information on the label and on the safety data sheet should, as far as practicable, be given in one or more of the official languages of the importing Party.