Do You Have Your HS-Codes in Order?


The Brexit negotiations about a trade deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom are still going, and an end is not yet in sight. Whether an agreement is reached before December 31st of this year remains to be seen.

The fact that there is no agreement yet makes it difficult to prepare adequately. A lot is still unclear. However, there are several steps you will have to take, whatever the outcome may be.

One of the first steps is making sure you have an EORI number. Another critical step is making sure your data is in order.

Exporting to the United Kingdom

December 31st, the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. This means that the United Kingdom will become a third country. Currently, you can freely move your goods from any EU country to the United Kingdom, but not after Brexit. You will be exporting to a third country, and export documentation needs to accompany your shipment. This blog is about a critical piece of data that should be in order in your systems: HS-Codes.

Several restrictions and duties may apply to the different goods that will be imported or exported. One of the things any Customs Authority will look at is the HS Codes of the products in your shipment. Based on the HS Codes, the Customs Authority determines what tariffs apply and what duties you need to pay.

How Do I Get HS Codes for My Products?

HS-Code stands for Harmonized System Code. It is developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization in Brussels. HS-Codes are used by Customs Authorities worldwide to categorise products.

Assigning an HS Code to a product is called HS Classification. Classifying a product can be done based on its function, form, or composition. It can be a difficult and challenging process.

For more information on how to classify your products, please see a previous blog I wrote on the subject: The Risks of Using the Wrong HS-Code.

What Happens When Products Are Classified Incorrectly?

Incorrectly classifying a product can lead to non-compliance penalties, border delays, seizure of the products, or even a denial of import privileges. As the exporter of the products, you are responsible for correctly classifying them, and therefore you are liable. Because classifying is complicated, this can be a risk.

When in doubt, it is best to seek expert advice and let AEO certified customs specialists classify your products. Please contact us if you have any questions or want assistance with classifying products. Take the load off your mind.