Commodity Code

Cracking the Code

Navigating Commodity Codes for Import and Export

A commodity code is a sequence of numbers used to describe items in which are being imported/exported so that border officials can check the items are safe, legal and also that tax is calculated correctly.

The commodity code is made up of 10 digits- it is made up of 2 elements. The first 6 digits are part of the globally recognised harmonised system that has been used since 1988!

It is a way of labelling goods, logically ordered, split into sections, chapters, headings and subheadings. The next 2 digits are known as a ‘CN code’ and this is a combined nomenclature code used by EU authorities to track trade and calculate customs duty. 

The last 2 digits are known as ‘Taric code’, this shows any relevant trade policy or tariff quota imposed on that specific item.

It is important to get your codes correct to ensure you are compliant with HMRC and paying the correct amount of VAT/duty.  Check out the below links to find out more about using the correct codes:

Finding commodity codes for imports into or exports out of the UK – GOV.UK (

UK Integrated Online Tariff: Look up commodity codes, duty, and VAT rates – GOV.UK (

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