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1. What is the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature?

The ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature, or AHTN, is an 8-digit commodity


nomenclature that is based on the Harmonized System (HS) of the World Customs
Organization (WCO). It was conceptualized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) Member States (AMSs) in order to have a common tariff nomenclature to facilitate
trade within the region. The first AHTN Code was adopted in 2004, incorporating products
that are significantly traded by the AMSs. The AHTN is used as:

a uniform tariff nomenclature within ASEAN;

basis for preferential tariff purposes in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and
other Free Trade Areas; and

basis for the collection of trade statistics.

2. What is the structure of the AHTN?

The AHTN is comprised of the (i) General Rules for the Interpretation of the HS,
(ii) Section and Chapter Notes, including Subheading Notes, and (iii) a list of headings
arranged in systematic order and, where appropriate, subdivided into subheadings.

Adhering to the 6-digit level of the HS, the 7th and 8th digits of the AHTN Code are
assigned to ASEAN subheadings. The 8-digit subheadings reflect the products of interest to
the ten (10) AMSs. However, national subheadings required by Member States that were not
included in the AHTN shall be dealt with beyond the 8-digit codes.

Since the AHTN adheres to the structure of the HS, any proposed HS amendments
are adopted in toto. Hence, the AHTN 2017 version incorporates the HS 2017 amendments,
as what was done in 2007 and 2012. The total number of Philippine AHTN 2017 tariff lines
(including the alpha-numeric codes) is 11,058.

3. What are the advantages of the AHTN?

Establishes uniformity of application in the classification of goods in ASEAN

Enhances transparency in the classification process for goods in the region

Simplifies the tariff nomenclature system of AMSs to facilitate trade in the region

4. What is the AHTN Protocol?

Defines the legal framework governing the implementation of the AHTN and its
implementing rules and explanatory notes

Signed by the Governments of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,


Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam on August 07,
2003 in Manila

The Second Protocol to amend the Protocol Governing the Implementation of the
ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature was signed on April 08, 2010 in Viet
Nam

Date of Last Revision: July 2017 Page 2


5. What institutional arrangements oversee the AHTN Protocol?

The ASEAN Directors-General of Customs - responsible for monitoring, reviewing,


supervising all aspects relating to the implementation of the AHTN Protocol

The ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting - is the forum for all decisions relating to
the implementation of the AHTN Protocol

The ASEAN Secretariat - provides the necessary support for supervising,


coordinating and reviewing the implementation of the AHTN Protocol and assists
the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs on matters relating thereto; responsible
for assisting the experts panel and AMSs in monitoring and reviewing the AHTN

6. What are the obligations of ASEAN Member States?

Each AMS shall abide by the HS Code and shall apply the AHTN up to the 8-digit
level for all trade transactions for tariff, the collection of statistical data and other purposes.
Amendments to the AHTN shall only be made in accordance with Article 5 (Amendments of
the AHTN) and Article 6 (Amendment Procedures) of the Protocol.

7. How do AMSs provide for national subdivisions?

Beyond the 8-digit AHTN level, each AMS can create national tariff lines through
their domestic procedures. The Philippines assigns alpha-numeric codes to denote
its national tariff lines (see example below):

AHTN 2017 Rates of Duty (%)


Heading Description
Code (Jul to Dec 2017)
96.20 Monopods, bipods, tripods and similar
articles.
9620.00.10 - Of plastics 15
9620.00.20 - Of carbon and graphite 5
9620.00.30 - Of iron and steel 15
9620.00.40 - Of aluminium 15
9620.00.90 - Other :
9620.00.90A - - For the machines of Chapter 84 7
- - For the machines, appliances or
instruments of Chapter 90 :
9620.00.90B - - - For goods of heading 90.15 1
9620.00.90C - - - Other 3
9620.00.90D - - Other 10

To incorporate newly created national subheadings in the AHTN, proposals for


amendments shall be made by the AMSs to the ASEAN Directors-General of
Customs through the ASEAN Secretariat.

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The ASEAN Directors-General of Customs shall be the forum to allow
amendments to the AHTN. They may convene an experts panel consisting of
representatives from all the AMSs. The decisions of the ASEAN Directors-
General of Customs shall be made by consensus.

8. In what instances may the AHTN be amended?

The AHTN may be amended when: (i) there are amendments to the HS Code; (ii)
there are amendments to the ASEAN subheadings in the AHTN for purposes of simplification;
and (iii) there are amendments arising from the requirements of AMSs, changes in technology,
and others.

9. What are the criteria used for providing a subheading in the AHTN?

The following are the technical criteria for the AHTN review:

Criterion 1: A tariff line/ASEAN subheading of the AHTN should be provided where


the significance in trade for a subheading for a Member State is high.

Criterion 2: A tariff line/ASEAN subheading of the AHTN should not be further provided
where the tariff rates for groups of ASEAN subheadings are equal in the respective
Member States.

Criterion 3: Establishment of a tariff line/ASEAN subheading of the AHTN could take


into account international conventions as related to the establishment of the tariff
nomenclatures.

Criterion 4: Establishment of a tariff line/ASEAN subheading of the AHTN should avoid


the end-use criterion as far as justifiable.

Criterion 5: In establishing tariff lines/ASEAN subheading which are the requirements


of Member States, procedures in Articles 5 and 6 of the AHTN Protocol will apply.

Criterion 6: Establishment of a tariff line/ASEAN subheading of the AHTN should


consider criteria of amendments of the HS.

Criterion 7: Review of the AHTN should ensure a uniform understanding, interpretation,


and classification of goods under the AHTN.

10. What is the legal basis of the Philippines for the implementation of the AHTN?

The Tariff Commission is mandated by Executive Order (EO) 688 (s. 1981) to align
the Philippine Tariff Nomenclature with all future amendments to the Customs Cooperation
Council Nomenclature (CCCN). Further, the Philippines is bound by Article 4 of the ASEAN
Agreement on Customs dated March 1, 1997 and the AHTN Protocol signed by the AMSs.
A National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board Resolution is issued upon
completion of the required procedures to adopt the AHTN.

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11. What are the implications of Philippine adoption of the AHTN 2017?

Certain Philippine tariff lines, e.g., in-quota/out-quota, completely-knocked-down


packs under the Motor Vehicle Development Program, were accorded with AHTN
2017 Codes beyond the 8-digit level

Products under the Jewelry Industry Development Act (Republic Act 8502) and
products subject of Executive Orders on tariff modification were
correlated/transposed to AHTN 2017

Updating of Supplementary Explanatory Notes and drawing up of Correlation Table


between AHTN 2012 and AHTN 2017

Alignment of the Tariff Reduction Schedules under the various Free Trade Areas
with the latest AHTN nomenclature, while ensuring that tariff commitments are
faithfully reflected

Alignment of products indicated in Schedule LXXV of the Philippines under the World
Trade Organization (WTO) with AHTN 2017, while ensuring that bound rates are
faithfully reflected

Alignment of the Philippine Standard Commodity Classification (PSCC) Codes with


the changes made to the AHTN

Information dissemination by the Tariff Commission to familiarize the Bureau of


Customs, businesses, traders, government agencies, and other users with the
AHTN and its amendments

12. When is the next cycle of review of the AHTN?

Amendments to the HS are implemented every four to six years by the World
Customs Organization (WCO). Since the AHTN follows the amendments of the HS, the next
cycle of review is before 2022.

Date of Last Revision: July 2017 Page 5