The Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System generally called "Harmonised System" or "HS" is a classification of commodities structured according to their raw materials and the stage of production of the goods. This classification is drawn up and updated by the World Customs Organisation. This system is used by more than 190 countries to elaborate tariffs and establish international commercial statistics. It is also the basic instrument for trade negotiations, checking quotas, origin rules, and statistical research and analysis. It lies at the heart of the international economic classification harmonisation process implemented jointly by the UN Statistics Division and Eurostat.
The HS has been in force since 1988 and was revised in 1992, 1996, 2002 and 2007. An amended version will come into force on January 1st, 2012.