Between 2020 and 2022, I collaborated with the Customs Valuation and Classification Institute at the Korea Customs Service to develop decision-support models aimed at reducing the daily workload of customs officers. The primary authors, Eunji Lee and Sihyeon Kim, have shown remarkable skill and dedication in conducting this research, despite being a first-year master’s student and an intern, respectively. I am thrilled to announce that our paper has been accepted for publication in the ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology. Congratulations to the team on this significant achievement!

Title: Explainable Product Classification for Customs

Abstract: The task of assigning internationally accepted commodity codes (aka HS codes) to traded goods is a critical function of customs offices. Like court decisions made by judges, this task follows the doctrine of precedent and can be nontrivial even for experienced officers. Together with the Korea Customs Service (KCS), we propose a first-ever explainable decision supporting model that suggests the most likely subheadings (i.e., the first six digits) of the HS code. The model also provides reasoning for its suggestion in the form of a document that is interpretable by customs officers. We evaluated the model using 5,000 cases that recently received a classification request. The results showed that the top-3 suggestions made by our model had an accuracy of 93.9% when classifying 925 challenging subheadings. A user study with 32 customs experts further confirmed that our algorithmic suggestions accompanied by explainable reasonings, can substantially reduce the time and effort taken by customs officers for classification reviews.