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Using the correct commodity code (HS code)

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

If you import or export products into or from the Netherlands, you need to know the right commodity code for your products. It tells you which product requirements apply, and the amount of import duties and taxes you (or your customers) have to pay. In most cases, the Harmonised System or HS code is the basis of your commodity code. You can use a tool to find the correct HS code.

How do I find the correct HS code for my product?

Do you want to find out the HS code of your product? The World Customs Organization offers a full list of HS codes. Once you have found the correct HS code, you can go on to determine the full commodity code. You do so by adding the correct CN or TARIC code. See the information below to find out which code to use and how to find it.


If you are trading goods inside the EU, your full commodity code will consist of the HS code plus 4 extra digits: the TARIC. you can use the Dutch Customs TARIC goods nomenclature database to find the correct code. It lists all categories and codes for products you import or export. You can search by product, or browse all categories. This is how you use it:

Search by product name

  1. Go to the TARIC goods nomenclature database on the Dutch Customs website.
  2. Change the language to English in the top-right corner.
  3. Choose 'Nomenclature' in the top menu.
  4. Press 'Search by text'.
  5. Enter your search text (for example, 'cheese') and press 'Search'.

The results page lists all product codes that contain your search text.

Finding your product in the full nomenclature list

  1. Go to the TARIC goods nomenclature database on the Dutch Customs website.
  2. Switch the language to English in the top-right corner.
  3. Choose 'Nomenclature' in the top menu.
  4. Press 'Query by nomenclature'.
  5. If you know part of the code, fill it in under Commodity code and press 'Search'. You will see a list of folders that match the code you entered. If you do not know (part of) the code, browse the folder structure you see under the Search button.
  6. By clicking the folder images, you expand the categories. Do so until you find the correct code.

Looking up tariffs, taxes, and procedures

Use the EU Access2Markets Trade Assistant search to look up the current tariffs, taxes, procedures, trade barriers, and other relevant information for the transport of your product.

  1. Go to the Trade Assistant Search.
  2. Fill in the name of your product or the HS code under 'Product name or HS code'.
  3. Where does the product come from? Choose the country from the drop-down list.
  4. What is the destination of the goods? Choose the country from the drop-down list.
  5. Press 'Search'.
  6. You will see the search results in the tab: 'Search result list'. If you prefer to see the whole list of products, choose the tab 'Browse list of goods'.
  7. Choose the result you wish to see the trade information for.

Extra help finding the correct code

Finding out which product code to use can be quite difficult. Many products are not listed literally in the goods nomenclature. For instance: a computer is classified under 'automatic data processing machines'. Here are a few links to help you determine the right product code:

Call the Dutch Customs office

Call the Dutch Customs office if you need help finding the correct HS code for your product. The number is 0800-0143 (from outside the Netherlands: + 31 45 574 30 31).

You can also enlist the help of a customs consultation bureau, or a freight forwarder (company directory, in Dutch). Be aware that they may not get the code 100% right, since they have only your description (by phone) to go by.

If you want binding advice in writing, you can apply for a European Binding Tariff Consultation (EBTI) from the EU website. An EBTI is valid for 3 years after its issue date, across the European Union.

If your commodity code is easy to find in the goods nomenclature database, you should not need help.

Do you:

  • not have enough knowledge or experience to determine the right commodity code?
  • not fully understand the classification rules, even with the explanation provided?
  • have products in the high-risk category (chemicals, products on which high import, agricultural, or anti-dump duties are levied, dual-use goods, or strategic goods)?

If so, it is best to ask Dutch Customs office for advice.

How commodity codes are built up: HS, CN, and TARIC codes

Commodity codes consist of several numbers. Most commodity codes take the HS code as their basis. The HS code consists of 6 digits corresponding to main product classifications. This code forms the start of codes such as the TARIC and the CN code.

Harmonised System code

The HS code is used by customs officers worldwide to categorise products. HS stands for Harmonised System (HS): an internationally recognised system of standardised product classification. The HS code makes up the first 6numbers of most commodity codes. So, no matter where your product comes from, the main product category will be the same. There are 21 main categories.

When it comes to subcategories, however, there may be differences from one country to another. Take that into account when your foreign supplier sends you a product code.

CN code

The Combined Nomenclature (CN) adds 2 digits to the HS code. This creates the 8-digit CN code, which is used as a commodity code for export outside the European Union and determines the rate of customs duty.

TARIC code

TARIC stands for 'TARif Intégré Communautaire' (or Integrated Tariff of the European Communities) and adds 2 more digits to the CN code. This 10-digit code indicates the customs tariffs and rules connected to import within the EU.

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