Classifying ceramics for import and export

Get help to classify ceramic articles for import and export.

This guidance refers to chapters and headings in the UK Global Online Tariff. If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland, or if this guidance does not include your item, read more information.

Chapter 68 covers articles made of stone and other mineral materials. These include certain types of unfired ceramics and items such as natural stone tiles.

Resin-bound artificial stone is classified in chapter 68 as an artificial stone, if materials other than resin give the essential character. If resin gives the essential character, it’s classified as a plastic article in chapter 39.

Chapter 69 covers ceramic articles that have been fired after shaping, including:

  • house-wares, such as plates and bowls
  • ornaments, such as figurines
  • tiles
  • building bricks
  • roof tiles
  • drainage pipes

To classify a fired ceramic item, it’s necessary to identify the material it’s made of. Fired ceramic articles can be made of various materials, including:

  • common pottery
  • earthenware
  • stoneware
  • fine pottery
  • porcelain (or china)

Fired ceramics can be glazed or unglazed. The glazing process includes finishing fired ceramics using preparations such as enamels or special glazes. These preparations are classified in heading 3207.

Tiles and building products

Tiles and building products are classified in Chapters 68 and 69. Individual products are classified according to the materials they’re made of and if they’ve been fired or glazed.

Ceramic tiles are generally classified in heading 6907. They include:

  • flags
  • paving, hearth and wall tiles
  • mosaic cubes and similar products (on a backing or not)

However, there are some ceramic tiles that aren’t classified in heading 6907 or 6908, for example:

  • refractory tiles – classified in heading 6902
  • support or filler tiles – classified in heading 6904
  • roofing tiles – classified in heading 6905
  • tiles that have been adapted for a specific purpose, such as table mats – classified in heading 6911 or 6912
  • ornamental tiles – classified in heading 6913
  • tiles that have been specially adapted for stoves – classified in heading 6914
  • tiles for laboratory, chemical and other technical uses – classified in heading 6909

Building products made of ceramics are classified in headings 6901 to 6906.

Building products made of stone and other natural minerals are classified in Chapter 68. Materials that may be used include:

  • monumental and building stone – classified in heading 6802
  • agglomerated vegetable fibre, plaster, straw, shavings or similar materials – classified in heading 6808
  • cement, concrete or artificial stone – classified in heading 6810
  • asbestos-cement, cellulose fibre-cement or similar materials – classified in heading 6811

Ceramic bathroom fixtures are usually classified in heading 6910.

Ceramic tableware, kitchenware and other household articles

Articles made of porcelain or china are classified in heading 6911. If they’re made of other materials, they’re classified in heading 6912.

These articles include:

  • tea or coffee services
  • teapots or coffee-pots
  • plates
  • salad bowls
  • dishes and trays
  • mustard pots
  • table mats
  • stew pans
  • casseroles
  • baking or roasting dishes
  • preserving jars
  • bread bins
  • graduated kitchen capacity measures
  • ash trays
  • hot water bottles

Hand-held salt grinding mills made of plastic containers and ceramic grinding-plates, are classified in subheading 6912 00 89. The grinding plate gives the product its essential character.

Ceramic toilet articles

Toilet articles made of porcelain or china (whether for domestic or non-domestic use) are classified in heading 6911. If they’re made of any other material, they’re classified in heading 6912.

These articles include:

  • toilet sets, such as ewers and bowls
  • sanitary pails
  • urinals
  • eye baths
  • soap dishes
  • towel rails and hooks
  • toothbrush holders
  • toilet roll holders

Ornamental ceramics

A ceramic article is classified as ‘ornamental’ if its usefulness is clearly less important than its decorative characteristics, for example, plates that are moulded in relief or teapots that have hollow handles are considered to be ornamental products and are classified in heading 6913. Ornamental articles can also be made of unfired materials such as crushed stone mixed with resin. These are classified in heading 3926 when the resin gives the articles their essential character. Ornamental products have no practical use. They include:

  • statues, statuettes, busts, haut or bas reliefs, and other figures for interior or exterior decoration
  • wall ornaments such as tiles, plates, trays and plaques that have fittings for hanging
  • fire screens

Ceramic cornices, friezes and similar architectural ornaments aren’t classified in heading 6913, even though they may have ornamental characteristics. They’re classified in heading 6905.

Ceramic articles classified in heading 6914

Ceramic articles not classified elsewhere in Chapter 69 or in other chapters, are classified in heading 6914. They include:

  • stoves and other heating appliances that are mostly made of ceramics
  • non-refractory firebrick cheeks
  • ceramic parts of stoves or fireplaces
  • ceramic linings for wood burning stoves
  • non-decorative flower pots (for horticulture) that are totally plain with no glazing or decoration
  • fittings for doors and windows, such as handles, knobs and finger plates
  • parts for shop signs, such as letters, numbers, sign-plates and similar motifs (if they’re for illuminated signs they’re classified in heading 9405)
  • spring lever stoppers that are mostly made of ceramics
  • general purpose jars and containers for laboratories
  • display jars for pharmacies
  • various other accessories, such as knife handles and birdcage accessories

Ceramic millstones, grindstones, grinding wheels and similar articles are classified in heading 6804.

Collector’s items of historical interest

To be considered as a collector’s item of historical interest and classified in heading 9705, ceramics must:

  • have a certain rarity value
  • not normally be used for their original purpose
  • have a special buying and selling transaction, significantly different from normal trade of similar utility articles
  • have a high monetary value
  • illustrate a significant step in the evolution of human achievements, or a period of that evolution – for example, it’s a new ceramic production technique, or its decoration represents a significant historical development

Goods not classified in chapters 68 and 69

Goods not classified in chapters 68 and 69 are covered by:

Items not covered within these notes, but also not classified by chapters 68 and 69 include:

  • clay in its raw state – classified in chapter 25
  • broken pottery and broken bricks – classified in heading 2530
  • plaster coated fracture bandages (put up for retail sale) – classified in heading 3005
  • perfumed pumice stone (put up in blocks, tablets or similar prepared forms) – classified in heading 3304
  • friction materials not containing mineral materials or cellulose fibre, such as those containing cork – classified to their constituent material
  • articles made essentially of plastics, even if they contain asbestos as a filler – classified in chapter 39
  • expanded vermiculite – classified in heading 6806
  • fabrics, webs and similar articles of glass fibre (simply coated or impregnated with bitumen or asphalt) – classified in heading 7019
  • jewellery, imitation jewellery and other ornamental items that have a significant amount of precious metal in them, or are made of metal plated with precious metal – classified in chapter 71
  • coffee or spice mills with containers of ceramics and working parts of metal – classified in heading 8210
  • electrical insulators and fittings made of insulating material – classified in Chapter 85
  • electro-thermic apparatus (for activities such as cooking and heating), including heating elements ( such as cooking plates and heating resistors) – classified in heading 8516
  • mica dielectric condensers (capacitors) – classified in heading 8532
  • panels (of slate, marble, asbestos-cement or other materials) drilled or otherwise, clearly for use as a part of a control panel – classified in heading 8538
  • mica insulators and other mica insulating parts of electrical apparatus – classified in headings 8546 to 8548
  • mounted brake linings for disc brakes – classified as parts of the machines or apparatus they’re designed for (for example, in heading 8708)
  • mica goggles and eyepieces for use with the goggles – classified in heading 9004
  • plaster fracture appliances – classified in heading 9021
  • mica in the form of Christmas tree decorations – classified in heading 9505

More information

If this guidance does not cover your specific item in detail and you’re importing goods into Great Britain, you can search for it in the Online Trade Tariff.

If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK, and the EU and the goods are not ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU, you should also use the Online Trade Tariff.

If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and the EU, and the goods are at risk of onward movement to the EU, you should use the Northern Ireland (EU) Tariff.

If this guidance does cover your item, you’ll still need to look up the full commodity code to use in your declaration on the appropriate tariff.

You can find more ways to help you find a commodity code by referring to the links given in this section.

Published 2 August 2012
Last updated 2 May 2017 + show all updates
  1. This guidance has been updated.

  2. Change of service contact details; as of the 1 September 2015. The Tariff Classification Helpline changed from telephone contact to email.

  3. Change of service contact details; as of the 1 September 2016. The Tariff Classification Helpline changed from telephone contact to email.

  4. Change of service contact details, as of the 1 September 2015 the tariff classification helpline is changing from telephone contact to email.

  5. First published.