Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS code)

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS code) of the tariff nomenclature is an international standardised system of names and numbers for the classification of commodities. The HS code system is based on a 6-digit nomenclature. Individual countries have extended this to 10 digits for import and 8 for export. Nearly 200 countries use these HS codes as basis for:

* import duties

* trade statistics

* origin regulation trade agreement

* monitoring of controlled goods (including arms, waste, protected animal species)

* risk analysis

Since the HS code is subject to continuous development, HS codes need to 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 wants to be able to physically inspect the goods on the basis of this description. The HS code given by the supplier usually suffices, but there is often uncertainty in the event of new tradable commodities. Is that new telephone classed as a camera or something else? In order to be absolutely certain that the correct HS 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 HS code system is developed and maintained by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), an independent organisation at government level with around 160 members, based out of Brussels, Belgium. The HS code is also referred to as the goods code, statistics code, statistics number or tariff code. Please feel free to reach out to your local team for questions or advice.