What is an HS code?

The HS code (HS = Harmonized System for the description and coding of goods in international trade) is the first six digits of the commodity code and is used to classify the goods to be cleared in international trade.

Find HS tariff code – what to look for

The HS tariff code consists of the first six digits of the commodity code. The HS tariff code alone is not sufficient for a customs declaration, however. Exports require the HS tariff code to be extended to 8 digits (Combined Nomenclature), and imports require an extension to 11 digits (commodity codes and country-specific add-ons).

Within the EU, the HS tariff code is augmented by two digits (nomenclature) to form the commodity code. The ninth and tenth digits indicate the TARIC code, which provides information on EU Community measures such as supplemental tariffs. The eleventh digit refers to country-specific measures such as bans or restrictions.

Structure and meaning of HS code

49Chapter – Harmonized System
4901Heading – Harmonized System (HS item)
4901 99Subheading – Harmonized system

The digits of the HS code provide information about the attributes and nature of the goods, i.e. the meaning of the HS code.

Where can I obtain the HS code?

The official UK government website offers a wealth of additional information to help determine the HS code and commodity code. Important criteria in determining the correct number include the material properties, the processing state, and the designated use. Another site for this information is the European Binding Tariff Information (BTI).