The tariff code is the number assigner in the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS code) of the tariff nomenclature. This is an international standardised system of names and numbers for the classification of commodities.
- Import duties.
- Trade statistics.
- Origin regulations
- Trade agreements
- Monitoring of controlled goods (including arms, waste, protected animal species)
- Risk analyses
- Customs information systems
Since the Tariff code is subject to development, it needs to be ensured that the used codes remain up-to-date. When importing, a normal description of the goods needs to be stated, other than the standard text and in addition to the HS code. This is because Customs want to be able to physically check the goods on the basis of this description.
The Tariff code given by the supplier often suffices, but there is often uncertainty in the event of e.g. new technologies. Is that new telephone classed as a camera or otherwise? In order to be absolute certain that the correct Tariff code is used for import purposes, it is best to ask for Binding Tariff Information (BTI). This applies throughout the EU if it concerns an identical product.
The Tariff code system is developed and maintained by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), an independent organisation at government level with around 160 members, having its seat in Brussels. The Tariff code is also referred to as the goods code, statistics code, statistics number or tariff code. Please feel free to contact our staff for questions or advice. A list of all tariff headings can be obtained, with a search tool, both by product and by heading on the web Global Trade Helpdesk.