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What are Harmonized System (HS) & Customs Procedure (CPC) Codes

What do they mean and why do they matter?

HS Codes and CPC codes, in combination, make up a set of instructions to customs when importing or exporting goods from/to Europe. 

HS codes are used in ALL countries for imports and exports.

CPC codes are exclusive to Europe. 

HS codes indicate what the goods are.

CPC codes indicate how to import / export the goods.

On import, these two numbers can determine how much duty / tax is owed, or in some instances, not owed at all. And when exporting, they indicate to customs which items are being exported, and for what reason.

Harmonized System (HS) Codes

The Harmonized System is used by customs globally  to classify any and all products when assessing duties and taxes, and for statistics purposes. 

Specific six-digit codes are assigned to each type of item. 

Countries are allowed to add longer codes to the first six digits for further classification. 

In the UK, for imports the number will be 10 digits (Usually the HS Code with four zeros on the end), and for exports it will be 8 (Again, usually the HS Code with two zeros on the end). 

In the US, the number is always 10 digits. 


See searchable database here (Globally) or here (for UK Codes) 

9701.10.0000 - Paintings, drawings and pastels

9703.00.0000 - Original sculptures

9705.00.0000 - Collectors items (Originals) 

9706.00.0000 - Antique items (Over 100 years old) 

9702.00.0000 - Artist prints

4911.91.0000 - Photographs

Customs Procedure Code (CPC) Codes

A CPC code (Customs Procedure Code) is used to indicate the reason for import or export from/to Europe, in the form of either a seven digit number or a six digit number and one letter.

This explains the purpose of a shipment, determines how the shipment is processed and the way that duties and taxes are collected.

Using the correct CPC code is very important in order to avoid incorrect duties and taxes being collected and delays occurring


See searchable database here (for UK Codes) 

10 00 001 - Export from Free Circulation

40 00 200 - Import to Free Circulation, reduced VAT rate

40 00 000 - Import to Free Circulation, standard VAT rate

53 00 000 - Import to full authorisation TA

61 21 000 - Import of previously temporarily exported goods

61 23 F01 - Import of return goods (within 3 years) 

71 00 000 - Import of goods to Bonded customs warehouse

31 71 000 - Transfer from TA to Bonded Warehouse

71 31 000 - Transfer from Bonded warehouse to TA

31 53 000 - Export from TA

31 71 000 - Export from Bonded Warehouse 

If you need assistance understanding what codes apply to your shipment specifically, please do contact your ARTA representative and we will be happy to help!