Goods Classification

How you classify your goods from a customs point of view is an important part of customs compliance. Failing to correctly classify your goods using the incorrect HS code, can have a major financial impact on your business and relations with the customs authorities. We are there to support you in all your goods classification needs with:

European-wide customs and classification knowledge
Objective and independent advice
Latest insights on classification developments and impact on your business

Contact us today and one of our goods classification consultants will be in touch.

Empowering Global Trade

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Carlotta Bugamelli
Carlotta Bugamelli
Senior Trade and Customs Advisor

Customs Classification of Goods

More than a ten digit code 

Although a lot of companies assume that goods classification is ‘just about a 10-digit code’, there are a lot of complex goods classification rules and regulations applicable. Moreover, customs classifications are subject to periodic change. Think: when was the last time your classification of goods and services were checked on validity? How was this check performed? Is this customs classification process documented? 

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Determination of the correct classification is related to:

  • Duties     
  • Import and export limitations     
  • Documentation requirements 
  • Licenses     
  • Trade policy measures     
  • Security measures 

Customs Support can help you establish a correct goods classification and answer any related questions. 

Goods Classification | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How are goods classified for customs?

Goods are classified according to the Harmonised System. The customs classification is done according to the classification rules set out by the World Customs Organisation. Each section and chapter in the Harmonised System contains specific information regarding classification.

The classification rules are too complex to go into detail here. Do you want to know more about them? Then contact one of our specialists today!

What does the process of classification look like?

The process of classification is not only to find the right duty rate for you, or your buyer, when importing goods. It is also the function which triggers any requirements for import or export licenses, or additional security measures. Therefore, it is essential to get your classification correct as it nominates legally binding procedures and agreements for your movements.

For example, when classifying goods using the Harmonised Tariff System (HTS), your goods are firstly assessed to find out which chapter (1-99) they best fit into. From there, further decisions are made for each pair of subsequent numbers, based on the best description for your goods, until the whole 10-digit tariff code has been completed.

In the event that multiple chapters or codes could be applied to your goods, further assessment is necessary to ensure the correct code is used. Customs Support’s consultants work with companies of all sizes to ensure compliance throughout their supply chain.

Contact us for more information on classifying your goods today.

What are the differences between HTS and CN?

Once you determine the correct code for a product, it is called a customs classification. Based on the rules of classification, goods are classified in the Harmonised Tariff System (HTS) / Combined Nomenclature (CN). This is a classification system that the World Customs Organisation maintains. The HTS system is used almost everywhere in the world. The CN system is an expansion of the HTS system used in the European Union.

What key facts about goods classification should I be aware of?

The first six numbers of the code for an item are (or should be) the same worldwide. The numbers after that can differ per country. For example, if you source your goods from suppliers outside the European Union it is very important to check or ‘translate’ the provided codes to those used in the European Union. This is to ensure that you work with valid and correct customs classification codes.

Why is it of relevance to classify goods correctly?

Determination of customs classification is a complex activity. Failing to comply with the applicable rules and regulations can form a serious threat for the continuity of your business. This is where a customs specialist can support to give advice or review the customs classification codes you are using.

How long does it take to classify an item?

The time needed to classify goods depends on the complexity of the products, material and products description and can take from 1 minute to half an hour per classification. Our classification specialists review required information to determine the right HS code.

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