European Member Countries (EU) & HS Codes


From March 2023, new import regulations go into effect for items imported to the European Union (EU). The EU will require better customs descriptions and Harmonized System (HS) codes for item send to EU member states.

These changes are part of the EU’s reform of international commerce and shipping. The changes have the end goal of enhancing security, better customs clearance, with improve accracy duties and taxes assessment. These changes will create a smoother delivery of international orders, but will require work for shippers to make better shipment declaration.

HS Codes?

HS Codes, known as Harmonized System Codes are universal recognized way of identifying goods, the materials they’re made of, and the intended purpose of the item. The codes create a universal language that any customs agent can follow regardless of languages spoken or listed for the customs description. The core purpose of HS codes is to ensure uniformity and consistency in the classification of goods traded globally.

Benefits of HS Codes and Customs Descriptions

Having the correct HS codes and accurate customs descriptions will allow shipment to pass through customs more quickly and efficiently. Additionally, this will also faciliate correct duties and taxes assessment. Failure to properly identify the imported items can result in higher price tags for merchants and recipients alike. International customers will see the benefit in the long run. Your buyer will enjoy faster customs clearance, which translate to a shorter transit time and quicker delivery.

How Do I Use the Correct Customs Descriptions and HS Codes?

Historically, the EU and other governing bodies did not strongly enforced descriptions used to describe imported goods. However, these recent changes impact both HS codes and customs descriptions. The EU will no longer allow vague descriptions such as “gift,” “clothing,” or “artwork” as acceptable customs descriptions. The EU does offer guidance and some examples for some descriptions they have deemed acceptable via their Guidance on Acceptable and Unacceptable Terms for the Description of Goods.

You may download a copy of this guide by clicking on the below button

Guides on Description of Goods

There are also ways to locate the correct HS code using tools available online. One of such tools available are offered by European Customs Portal at EU HS Code Lookup.