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A symposia series on greening the HS

Greening the HS is on the agenda, but how best to do it? To find answers to this question, the WCO is organizing a series of five symposia from October 2022 to January 2023. You may join the events either in-person, at the WCO headquarters in Brussels, or online via zoom. Participation will be free and interpretation offered in English, French and Spanish.

The key tool for the identification and classification of goods at the global level is the Harmonized System (HS). The pandemic, the climate crisis, other environmental issues such as the accumulation of plastics in the environment, the fragility of food security, the circular economy model – these are all examples of critical, urgent or emerging topics that have been occupying many minds in governments, international organizations and academia, and have also been behind enquiries to the WCO about current classifications and how to increase the available data and specificity of classification in the HS for critical goods.

The 2022 edition of the HS, which entered into force on 1 January 2022, takes account of environmental issues and certain goods which are subject to specific controls under various multilateral environmental agreements. The 7th HS Review Cycle, which is under discussion in the bodies responsible for managing the HS, constitutes a historic opportunity to make the 2027 edition of the HS increasingly green.

To enable private and public stakeholders share their ideas and HS amendment proposals, the WCO Secretariat is organizing a series of symposia which will each look at a different area of the HS (see box). There are principles governing the creation or amendment of a provision in the HS, and how to submit a sound proposal for this. Shall you wish to participate in the symposia, we encourage you to read the article we published in the 98th edition of the magazine entitled Some common questions about the HS, and how to change it to meet needs.

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The five areas covered by the symposia

1- Expanding food horizons – recognizing agricultural diversity for sustainable global food security
Wednesday 5 October 2022 (13:00 – 16:00 CET)

2- Chemicals – reflecting the good, the bad and the revolutionary
Tuesday 25 October 2022 (13:00 – 16:00 CET)

3- The textile industry: the interaction between textiles and the environment
Tuesday 8 November 2022 (12:00 – 15:00 CET)

4- Reflecting the lifecycle of the basic materials – plastics, metals, wood and other sustainable alternatives
Thursday 1 December 2022 (12:00 – 15:00 CET)

5- The environmental credentials of technology – can we identify the green status of equipment?
Monday 23 January 2023 (12:00 – 15:00 CET)