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A commodity code must be declared for all goods when declaring them for import or export. The commodity code determines the duty rates that are levied on the goods, as well as restrictions and prohibitions, among other things. Commodity Codes can also be loosely referred to as Taric Codes, HS Codes, Tariff Codes or Tariff Headings.
It is important that you provide the right commodity code to ensure that you pay the correct amount of customs duties, taxes and other charges.
What are commodity codes?
A commodity code is a sequence of numbers made up of six, eight or ten digits.
The commodity code determines:
- the customs duties and other charges levied on the goods;
- the preferential treatments that may apply to their import; and
- the restrictions and prohibitions that may apply to the import, export or transit of the goods.
Six-digit commodity codes are HS codes (WCO Harmonized System). They are used worldwide in monitoring trade volumes and applying international trade measures to goods. The HS nomenclature forms the basis for the 8-digit Combined Nomenclature and the 10-digit Taric Nomenclature.
Eight or ten-digit commodity codes are used in import and export declarations and in statistics declarations on internal trade between EU countries (Intrastat declarations).
Why do I need commodity codes?
You need the commodity code to be able to lodge customs declarations, and to find out if there are any restrictions that apply to the goods and what the import costs are.
Be sure to have the right commodity code so that you can set the right price for your products and avoid any back taxes. Note, periods of subsequent taxation apply. If the commodity code is incorrect, the importer may have to pay the unlevied taxes retroactively.
The commodity code affects all the import taxes levied on the goods.
Logic of the nomenclature
All goods have their own commodity code. The logical progression in the nomenclature is from raw material to semi-finished to finished goods.
Take for example cotton (see picture), which is the raw material for a fabric, which in turn is made into a T-shirt. In order to find the right commodity code, you have to follow the general rules for the interpretation of the nomenclature and also consider the code texts and the notes.
An example of the classification logic – 0204 23 00 11
CHAPTER 2: MEAT AND EDIBLE MEAT OFFAL
Meat of sheep or goats, fresh, chilled or frozen (Heading 0204)
– Other meat of sheep, fresh or chilled (0204 21 00 00)
– – Boneless (0204 23)
– – – Of domestic sheep (0204 2300)
– – – – Of lamb (0204 2300 11)
Here you can see an overview of the commodity codes used in this sub-division. The first six digits refer to the classification in the WCO Harmonized System (HS). This classification is further subdivided by the European Union into the eight-digit Combined Nomenclature (CN) codes. For import declarations, these codes are subdivided further into ten-digit Taric codes. For import and export customs declarations, commodities need to be classified in the Combined Nomenclature.
What information do I need to find commodity codes?
- You need to know, among other things, the nature, composition, features and function of the goods.
- By examining the nomenclature you will find out what details you need for specific goods.
- You also need detailed information about the goods when asking the Customs Information for help with the commodity code.
Where can I find Commodity Codes?
You can also buy the commodity code details as a service from a forwarding company.
Please note: French and Dutch Translations for this page are unavailable at this time.
Information on the European Commission’s website:
- Getting ready for the end of the transition period
- Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU
- Market Access Database: Information on trade with third countries
- Brexit: Situation, negotiations and preparedness
Information on the European Council’s website
Information on websites of other authorities: