The Customs Act 1901 of Australia requires exporters from the country to declare important details about their export consignments. The form that exporters must submit in this direction is called an export declaration. It contains information regarding consignor, consignee, types of goods, cargo type and so on. In order to meet the international trade norms, exporters must include certain codes and values like goods origin code, net quantity, gross weight and AHECC code.
In short, AHECC stands for Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification and this code plays an important role in classifying commodities in their respective categories. So, why is this classification important? What are AHECC codes in detail and where to find them? What is their role while declaring goods for export? Find the answers below.
AHECC and HS
The World Customs Organization maintains HS (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) nomenclature, used for the international classification of trade goods and services. It consists of 6-digit codes, each classifying a specific commodity category. The various countries across the globe extend the HS codes to add further details to the import and export goods they deal in.
Likewise, Australia extends the 6-digit HS codes to 8-digit codes. These codes serve the purpose to classify trade goods in the following ways:
- The Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature and Statistical Classification for imported goods
- The AHECC codes for exported goods
Who Requires AHECC Codes?
The various parties that intend to export goods from Australia to other countries need these codes. These many include:
- Exporters’ agents
- Customs brokers
- Freight forwarding service providers and so on
In addition to the other important details, the export declaration form contains a mandatory section to share the AHECC codes. In case an export consignment comprises goods/commodities in different categories, the form should have an AHECC code specific to each one of them.
The Main Purposes of AHECC Codes
Clearly, the top purpose of these codes is to aid hassle-free classification of the goods being exported. Furthermore, this classification is important for a number of purposes:
- First, the data an exporter shares with the Customs is further shared with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS uses this data to prepare and publish export statistics. So, the AHECC codes help in easy understanding of various statistics related to Australian trade.
- Second, the AHECC prescribes additional information that an export declaration must include. For example, it suggests the units (whether KG, T, NO or NR) in which the goods’ net quantity must be specified. The exporter must use only the suggested quantity in the form.
- Third, the code is also important to decide whether the form should contain temporary import number or not. If the AHECC indicates a good that has been imported for a brief period before rec-exporting, the form should mention the temporary import number.
- Also, the codes can be useful in deciding what kind of handling and storage the corresponding goods require during shipping.
How to Find AHECC Codes?
You can obtain accurate AHECC codes to classify various commodities you wish to export with the Australian Border Force (the Australian Customs). For this, you may contact the department via email, phone or FAX. It is possible to find this contact information on their official website.
Alternatively, you may also refer to the website of ABS to locate these codes. However, make sure you refer to the latest updates to pick the right codes.
What May Go Wrong?
It should be noted that wrong AHECC code or AHECC misclassification is among the most common mistakes that export declarations usually contain. It may happen due to several reasons like:
- Picking up old AHECC codes. Along with the HS codes, the AHECC codes also undergo revisions occasionally. So, be careful in referring to the most recent resources.
- Because of manual form filling. It may happen that you fill in one or more wrong digits. Human errors are undoubtedly among the top causes of inaccurate export documentation.
- Mentioning different codes on two different documents. The mismatch between the information may lead to the wastage of time.
An international trade software can help you avoid these situations. You can use it not only to locate the updated AHECC codes but also to automate the process of filling export declaration leaving no room for human errors.