Step-by-step guide to exporting

How to classify your goods for exporting

You, as the exporter, are responsible for the correct tariff classification of your goods. This applies to importers too.

Classifying your goods correctly means that you:

  • pay the correct amount of duty and VAT
  • know if duty is suspended on any of your goods
  • know if any preferential duty rates can be applied
  • know if you need to obtain an import or export licence

By correctly classifying your products you’ll know what measures apply to them.

The UK Trade Tariff is an easy-to-use online tool which gives you free, direct access to current trading information on taxes and levies, rebates, preferences, restrictions and other information supplied by HM Revenue & Customs on all imports to and exports from the European Union. It enables you to find commodity codes that accurately describe your goods, as well as a full list of duties and other measures such as taxes, rebates and conditions that apply to any code.

This is the same as the EU TARIC, which other EU member states can use to identify the same information.

Access the UK Trade Tariff

Commodity codes and regulations listed in the EU TARIC and UK Trade Tariff are updated daily. This means that importers and exporters get the same standards and treatment across the EU.

You may find that the rates of duty may differ depending on the country of manufacture of the imported goods. Preferential duty rates may apply where a Free Trade Agreement exists between two or more transacting countries. On the other hand, additional anti-dumping duties may be levied. Anti-dumping duty is imposed on imports 'dumped' in the EU - ie sold at a price substantially below their normal value, usually their domestic market price.

In addition to import duty, imports may be subject to other taxes such as sales tax, excise duty, or other customs charges. Each country has its own set of taxes, and different ways of calculating them.

Classifying goods if you’re trading with a country outside the EU

If you’re trading with a country outside the EU you can access their tariffs using the European Commission Market Access Database. You can search for a product code based on your product description. The database also gives important tariff information and how it’s applied in other countries.