Modernizing Global Customs Codes

By Tim Juzefowicz, President, World Renderers Organization

Rendered products are exported around the world in large volumes. Animal protein meals, animal fats, and recycled oils are sold globally as ingredients in animal feeds, pet foods, biofuels, and oleochemicals, to name just a few.

The recording and publishing of trade in rendered products worldwide is administered by the World Customs Service (WCS) using product code listings. WCS controls the first six digits of product codes and individual countries can allocate balance digits to reflect individual products.

Trade of rendered products has occurred for over 80 years and the codes allocated to these products are basic and not species-specific. During this time, rendering has progressively developed with renderers now producing many various meals, fats, and oils. Today, there are too few global product codes available to adequately describe the production and trade of actual rendered products.

To address the issue in Australia, the Australian Renderers Association (ARA) approached the Australian Customs Service (ACS) in 2015 to seek an expanded list of rendered product codes to reflect actual products traded and shipped. ARA described the issue to ACS as follows:

a) Currently the codes are not species-specific and do not differentiate ruminant from monogastric animal meals; all are simply coded as meat and bone meal.

b) Product codes are too restrictive. Both poultry fat and pig fat/lard are two very different products and yet are shipped to countries under the same code even though certain countries (i.e., Muslim) preclude trade in porcine material. These products should have separate codes.

c) Importing countries and importers use different product codes than exporters and exporting countries do causing a conflict on tariff rate codes.

d) Current codes are not workable for a country that may accept ruminant meat and bone meal but have a ban on avian material because both ruminant and poultry meal are under the same code.

ARA obtained approval from ACS in May 2015 to use an expanded list of rendered product codes effective July 1, 2015, providing a more accurate understanding, awareness, and recordkeeping of actual products traded. This has allowed importing countries to then determine which product is entering their country instead of many products being grouped together under one code as has been done for the last 50-plus years.

With many countries exporting rendered products today – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, European countries, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, South Africa, United States, Uruguay, and others – there is a disconnect between what codes one country exports product under and what codes importers use. There is also no separation for species-specific products that reflects the change in a growing world trade.

On the global stage, ARA, as a member of the World Renderers Organization (WRO), raised this issue at two WRO meetings in 2015. A general consensus determined that an application and recommendation seeking an expanded rendered product codes listing be written by WRO and presented to WCS for global implementation in 2016. Initial advice has been sent to WCS to consider the proposal and WRO now awaits a response. If WCS approves, then it has 6 to 12 months to include, adopt, and ratify such changes. The next step would be communicating the changes globally through a “global advice” notification.

The expanded list is not exhaustive and other codes can be created for other species products, such as venison, buffalo (water), buffalo/bison (land), turkey, goose, or kangaroo meals. WRO can ask WCS to further expand the product codes to suit a growing number of rendered products traded. Should there be insufficient codes within the expanded framework, then WRO can write to WCS seeking new rendered product codes, chapters, and sections to allow for a whole set of new product codes.

WRO members are welcome to e-mail their specific needs or comments on this initiative to this author for further review. In addition, all are welcome to attend the next WRO meeting on June 2, 2016, at the European Fat Processors and Renderers Association Congress in Messinia, Greece.

April 2016 RENDER | back