3-D Printers and Virtual Reality Headsets: Tech in Focus at the World Customs Organization Meeting in Brussels, Belgium

IMG_7140_EDITThis week, CompTIA’s Ken Montgomery, vice president of international trade regulation and compliance, and Stefanie Holland, director of international government and regulatory affairs, attended a meeting of the Harmonized System Committee at the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Brussels, Belgium. Customs officials from around the world gathered to examine the classifications of numerous products in an effort to harmonize customs procedures globally.

Products up for examination were ones that are relatively new to global trade or those where inconsistencies exist at ports when they are imported around the world. Technology goods that were discussed included 3-D printers, virtual reality headsets, semiconductor products, LED modules, and other products including selfie sticks and stand up paddleboards. The meeting lasted two weeks, covering dozens of products.

CompTIA, representing the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as the lead industry delegate at the meeting, facilitated industry presentations for the customs officials. The technical presentations given by industry are essential in providing detailed information necessary for the customs delegates as they make classification determinations.

3-D printers are under consideration at the WCO as they do not currently have a separate classification. Therefore, most countries are classifying 3-D printers as machines that process the material used in the printer (plastics, metal, other). HP provided a presentation on the HP Jet Fusion 3-D Printing System. The committee agreed that it would be preferable to amend the Harmonized System and develop a heading for 3-D printers. A proposal for this action will be considered in May.

The World Semiconductor Council (WSC) provided a technical presentation on the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) module, a type of semiconductor which converts DC power to AC power. The ICC and WSC also hosted a luncheon with government officials to discuss semiconductor products that currently are being classified differently in some countries. The government and industry representatives discussed possible steps to address the discrepancies going forward.

CompTIA will join the Customs officials when they convene again in May when the 3-D Printer issue is further examined. For additional information contact Ken Montgomery at kmontgomery@comptia.org.