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HS Codes: how to find them in the 2021 European Customs

Check your custom’s codes in the 2022 European Customs Tariff

Ensure that you have up to date customs codes for your goods and find out the customs rates in effect from January 2022.

The new Customs Tariff has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union L 385, October 29th 2021.

Customs, customs agents and freight forwarders use HS codes (Harmonized System) codes, also called commodity codes to clear all goods crossing international borders. In the European Union, these codes are defined by the customs tariff, also known as the Combined Nomenclature.

Customs Tariff 2022: what’s new

Each year, the 8-digit combined nomenclature that defines customs tariffs within the European Union evolves to keep pace with the reality of international trade. The new edition, which went into effect on January 1st 2022, includes several changes, including the creation of many new classifications.

In particular, there are changes and innovations in the following chapters:

  • Chapter 3: Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates.
    • ★ Changes apply to scallops, including queen scallops, chlamys or placopecten, flours and meals of fish, fit for human consumption.
  • Chapter 04: Milk and dairy produce, birds’ eggs, natural honey, edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.
    • ★ Changes apply to yoghurt.
  • Chapter 07: Vegetables, plants, roots and tubers.
    • ★ Changes apply mainly to the cabbage and mushroom families.
  • Some changes apply to the chapter on oilseeds and oleaginous fruits (Chapter 12) as well as that of animal or vegetable fats and oils (Chapter 15).
  • Chapter 38 and 40: Miscellaneous chemical products and rubber and artciles thereof.
    • ★ The changes are for products intended for inhalation without combustion.
  • Chapitre 44: Wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal.
    • ★ The changes no longer concern many products: wood briquettes, fiberboard called “MDF”, laminated wood, veneer wood, cellular wood panels, carpentry works (doors, frames etc.).
  • Chapter 30: Pharmaceutical products.
    • ★ The focus here is on human and animal vaccines.
  • And others.

How to secure your customs codes in 2022?

Here are 3 ways of finding the customs code for your goods, or checking the validity of a code in the new Customs Tariff 2022:
  1. Check the changes in the Customs Tariff 2022

    Easily identify what’s new in the Customs Tariff 2022:
    Search (ctrl + f) for the signs ★ or ■ in the Customs Tariff 2022 in PDF :

    ★ Designates the new customs code numbers
    ■ Designates code numbers that were used in the previous year, but with different content.
    You can also use the XLSX version and search for
    (1) Creations
    (2) Modifications.

    As of January 1st 2022, the World Customs Organization is releasing its 7th edition of the 6-digit Customs Code (HS6). This new edition of HS 2022 includes significant changes with 351 sets of amendments.

    > Find the 2022 edition of the HS 2022 nomenclature.
    > Use the the World Trade Organization and World Customs Organization’s HS TRACKER to follow the evolution of your HS codes from 1992 to 2022.

  2. Work out the customs code for your goods on the IATRS

    The RITA (Integrated Automated Tariff Reference System) is the reference catalogue for the Community and national customs tariff. It brings together the regulations concerning the tariff classification of the goods, the applicable duties and taxes, the required accompanying documents and more. Updated automatically by French Customs, the RITA encyclopedia offers you a paperless version of the Customs Tariff, with a search ergonomics infinitely superior to that of the official text available on EUR-lex!

    > Use RITA to determine your customs codes by going to douane.gouv.fr, RITA Encyclopedia.

  3. Use the TARIC correlation table

    To help you check if the customs codes used by your company in 2020 and 2021 have changed in 2022, the European Commission provides a TARIC (European Union Integrated Tariff) correlation table.

    > Download the TARIC 2022 correlation table (in excel format). See also the TARIC 2021.
    > Consult the TARIC europa base online (on the EC Europa website).

Customs codes: what you need to know

What is the purpose of the Customs Tariff?

The Customs Tariff is one of the most important customs documents because it allows you to:

  • Classify your products in the 8-digit (CN) 8-digit European  Combined Nomenclature .
  • Know the applicable customs duties for your goods imported into the European Union (EU) – excluding tariff preferences.

It is also very impressive in size and content, no less than 1048 pages, and more than 15,500 references.

Why it’s important to update your customs codes

Updating your customs nomenclatures is all the more important as it will allow you to:

  • Maintain the reliability of your customs databases, intended for all company departments (sales, purchasing, logistics, customs, accounting, etc.).
  • Avoid delays in customs clearance, when your customs representative comes back to you to tell you that your customs nomenclature no longer exists and that they need the new 2022 nomenclature.
  • Avoid customs disputes and make sure you pay the right customs duties.

Taking things further: validate your customs classification with a BTI

Classifying your products alone, especially technical products, among the 15,500 references of the tariff classification of goods can quickly become a headache, and it’s not without risk.

nomenclature error on the Single Administrative Document (SAD) used in customs at entry or exit of the  Union Customs Territory can lead to a costly litigation case with the customs authorities.

The Binding Tariff Information (BTI) is not mandatory, but it guarantees the customs nomenclature and  the customs duties applicable to your product within the European Union. Valid in all European Union for a duration of 3 years,   allows you to benefit from the expertise of Customs for complex classifications, and can avoid costly adjustments.

Also check for changes in the Customs Tariff 2021.

Hélène Plaquet

To find out everything about customs nomenclatures, we recommend MATHEZ FORMATION’s customs training courses, in particular the Customs Trio. And to obtain a BTI or to secure your customs operations: contact us!

Hélène Plaquet, MATHEZ FREIGHT
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