Commodity code

Ciaran Burke

Page written by AI. Reviewed by Ciaran Burke on January 23, 2024.

Definition

A commodity code is a standardised numerical code assigned to specific products or goods for international trade. 

What is a commodity code?

Commodity codes are part of the Harmonised System, which is an internationally standardised system of names and numbers to classify traded products. The purpose of commodity codes is to simplify the systematic classification and identification of traded goods, ensuring consistency and accuracy in customs procedures and trade statistics.

Commodity codes are typically composed of a series of digits that represent different levels of classification. The first few digits provide a broad categorisation, while additional digits offer more detailed information about the product. The longer the code, the more specific the classification.

Importers and exporters use commodity codes when completing customs declarations and other trade-related documents. These codes help customs authorities identify the nature of the goods being imported or exported, enabling them to apply the correct duties, taxes, and regulations.

The use of commodity codes promotes efficiency and transparency in global trade by providing a standardised language for classifying products. This facilitates smoother customs procedures, reduces the risk of misclassification, and improves communication between trading partners.

Example of commodity code

Commodity code: 8471.30.1000

Breaking down the code:

  • The first two digits, “84,” broadly classify the product as machinery and mechanical appliances.
  • The next two digits, “71,” provide further categorisation, indicating that the product falls under the heading of automatic data processing machines and units.
  • The following two digits, “30,” specify a subcategory within automatic data processing machines, specifying that it is a portable automatic data processing machine (laptop).
  • The last four digits, “1000,” may represent additional details or specifications related to the specific product.
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