Guidance

Using the Trade Tariff tool to find a commodity code

Find out how to use the Trade Tariff tool to get the right commodity code to classify your goods.

If you bring goods in or move goods out of the UK or EU, you’ll need to get the correct commodity code to put on your declaration. To find this, use the trade tariff look-up tool.

If you’re classifying your goods for the first time, you can find out more about ways to help you to find a commodity code. This includes getting advice from HMRC to find the right commodity code.

Searching the Trade Tariff tool

Each commodity code is made up of a number of different parts based on:

  • the type of product
  • the material used to make it
  • the production method

You must accurately describe your item to search the tool. These steps will help you get started:

  1. Enter the search term you want to use – an item may not be listed by name, it may come under what it’s used for or made from.

  2. The tool will suggest a section or number of sections, divided into chapters.

  3. The headings in each chapter describe a product, only select a sub-heading if your item is accurately described.

  4. If your item is not accurately described, check further down the list – if none of the sub-headings match your item use the ‘other’ heading.

When you find the correct item type, the tool will show you the import and export codes, and any information connected to the code, such as:

  • if you need a license to move your goods
  • if there’s a tariff quota

Use the Trade Tariff tool to find your code. Or, you can search the Trade Tariff A to Z index to find the right sections and chapters for common products.

Example

To classify a pair of trousers using the Trade Tariff tool you need to know:

  • what they’re made of (for example, 70% cotton and 30% polyester)
  • how they’re made (for example, a knitted or crocheted material)
  • if they’re for a man or a woman

For a pair of trousers made for a man, from a knitted material that’s 70% cotton and 30% polyester, search for ‘trousers’.

You’ll reach chapter 61 ‘Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted’. Then:

  1. Sub-section 03: Men’s or boys’ suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear), knitted or crocheted.
  2. Sub-section: Trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts.
  3. Sub-section: ‘Of cotton’ (the item is classified to cotton as this is the main material).

The export commodity code is 61 03 4200 and the import commodity code is 61 03 420000.

Help to classify your goods

Getting goods analysed

If you need to give exact details of what your goods are made up of, such as prepared foodstuffs – you can get advice from an independent laboratory of your choice at your own expense.

For details of analysts see the directory of consultants for Royal Society of Chemistry.

Items packaged as a set

If your items are packaged in a set to sell and be used together, you should classify them to the most significant item in that set or, if that’s not identifiable, under the commodity code with the highest numerical value.

You must classify the items separately if they’re either:

  • not packaged as a set for retail sale
  • not to be used together

If an item is made of more than one substance

As a general rule, if you have an item made of 2 substances (for example, clothing that is 60% cotton and 40% polyester) you’d usually classify the item using the higher percentage content. There are exceptions, so check the relevant section and chapter notes for your goods.

Classification codes issued by other countries

Although many countries have signed up to the same classification system, their classifications are specific to their own country. If you rely on the classification code from an overseas supplier, you’ll need to check to what extent it applies in the UK.

Classifying goods if you’re importing goods into a country outside the UK or EU

If you want to know how goods will be classified for duty when entering a customs territory other than the UK or EU, you can access their tariffs using the European Commission Market Access Database. You can search for a product code based on your product description. The database also gives important tariff information and how it’s applied in other countries.

Published 21 December 2018