When importing products, you can encounter various abbreviations such as CI, B/L, HS, or CN. The first two refer to documents and the latter to customs codes. An HS code can be found in the Harmonized System, and a CN code is based on it. What is the CN code, and how is it different from the HS code?
What is the CN code?
The CN code is a code in the Combined Nomenclature (CN). This nomenclature was created when the European Union Council introduced a common customs tariff in 1987 under the Council Regulation (EEC) no 2658/87. Combined Nomenclature codes are based on the Harmonized System (HS), which is valid in 200 countries all over the world. The HS code consists of six digits, while the CN code consists of eight.
Product’s CN code
Every product type has its own CN code. Because the HS code is the original one, they share the first six digits. The seventh and eighth digits specify the type of product in the customs territory of the European Union. When importing, exporting, and shipping products inside the EU, the Combined Nomenclature code informs about its type for statistical purposes.
How to determine the CN code?
In the European Union, an integrated customs tariff called the TARIC nomenclature is used. The TARIC code has either ten or eleven digits. The first eight are the same as in the CN code, and the next two include information on protective measures. These can refer to the suspension of customs duty, imposed anti-dumping duty, or quantitative quota.
The nomenclature is divided into 21 sections and 99 chapters. The code numbers are assigned to the given type of product according to the following rules:
- The first two digits indicate a chapter in one of the 21 sections.
- The next two digits indicate the heading in the given chapter.
- The fifth and sixth digits signify the given product category’s subheading – these are the last digits of the HS code.
- The seventh and eighth digits are CN subheadings that further identify the product’s type.
- The ninth and tenth refer to statistic subheadings and protective measures in the EU’s customs area. Sometimes there is also an additional eleventh digit.
To explain this with an example: footwear incorporating a protective metal toecap, CN code 6401100000. It can be found in section XII, and the first pair of digits of the number is 64. The next pair of digits, 01, indicates a heading, which in this case is shoes. The third pair of digits indicates a subheading, and the last four specify the type of product, as well as statistical information and eventual protective measures. If the Harmonic System’s heading or subheading is not further divided for the common market goals, numbers from seven to ten are “0000”.
Where can CN codes be found?
The CN code for your product can be found in the previously mentioned EU TARIC tariff system. We prepared a step-by-step guide to make it easier to navigate through the system.
Both the codes and customs duties can change, so it is essential to check them often to ensure your information is up to date.
In case of a specific product of interest, you can look for it in the search engine or browse the nomenclature tree.