In a proclamation from President Biden, new updates were made to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) in December 2021 in order to clarify descriptions on certain e-scrap exports. The HTS is composed of codes and notes that identify and describe different types of products, and used by U.S. companies that import and export goods.
Approved by the World Customs Organization, the need for the updates stems from the U.S. HTS’s lack of the specific terminology necessary to describe several types of e-scrap exports. The World Customs Organization expressed concerns stating, “Electrical and electronic waste, commonly referred to as e-waste, is one example of a product class which presents significant policy concerns as well as high value of trade, hence 2022 includes specific provisions for its classification to assist countries in their work under the Basel Convention.”
The HTS 2022 update includes heading 8549 under chapter 85, which contains clearer descriptions of the e-scrap categories in question. In addition to prior descriptions, the HTS now covers “electrical and electronic waste and scrap,” for materials such as printed circuit boards, CRT glass, and other components destined for commodities recovery. The heading includes 3 subcodes, all of which contain even more specific identification numbers.
According to the director of logistics for electronics recycling and reuse company Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations, Matt Kelemen, finding HTS codes for materials streams has always been a struggle for the company, “The new changes appear to be a step in the right direction, though we are still working through which different material types fall into each HTS subheading.”