Customs tariff

The import duties payable upon import are determined, in part, by the applicable customs tariff. The customs tariff is the unit of account by which the tax base is multiplied. This results in the import duties payable upon import.

The customs tariff is usually a percentage of the value of the imported goods (ad valorem duties), although some goods are governed by a fixed amount per specific unit (specific duties).

Classification in the Combined Nomenclature

All goods imported into or exported from the EU must be classified in the Combined Nomenclature. This coding of goods is based on the Harmonized System (HS) of the World Customs Organization. Compared to the HS (6-digit code numbers), the CN has a more detailed coding system (8-digit code numbers). The classification of goods in the CN determines which import duties apply. A correct classification in the CN is thus important for determining the correct amount of import duties

EU Integrated Customs Tariff

Besides the CN, the EU also has an Integrated Customs Tariff (TARIC). In addition to the subheadings of the CN, TARIC codes are detailed into further subheadings, such as tariff suspensions, preferential tariffs, anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties. The first six digits of the TARIC subheadings are always the same as those of the CN.

In short, TARIC is a list of goods in which each type of good is assigned a code showing the (tariff) data for that particular type of good.

National Tariff User Manual

Further subheadings have been introduced in the Tariff User Manual, which takes account of national tariff measures, such as VAT rates, excise rates, a variety of permitted national preferential arrangements and quotas, as well as non-tariff-related measures.

Binding Tariff Information

If a company is unsure about the correct classification of a good, it can apply for a Binding Tariff Information (BTI) decision. A BTI provides assurance that a good is (correctly) classified and offers the holder legal certainty for a period of three years.

How can we help?

Our customs specialists can help you navigate complex classification issues. They have in-depth experience in performing classification analyses, preparing and submitting BTI applications, and advocating a specific classification in objection and appeal proceedings.

More information

Please feel free to contact our customs specialists to find out more.

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