Celebrating St Andrew's Day with a wee dram and some typically Scottish commodity codes

Thu 30 Nov 2023
Posted by: Will Barns-Graham

St Andrews Day

St Andrew’s Day is nae wee day, ye ken; it’s the national day of the beautiful country that is Scotland.

St Andrew has been the patron saint of the country since 1320, when it declared independence with the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath. The celebration of the saint on 30 November is thought to be a more recent tradition, but the day nonetheless marks an opportunity for Scots to celebrate their country, whether that’s by donning a kilt or sipping a wee dram of whisky.

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) employs a fair few Scots itself, with some of its staff even walking the West Highland Way last year. The charity more recently hosted its AGM in Glasgow in September.

As has been our way this year, we’ve decided to celebrate the occasion as only a team of trade and customs experts can – by identifying the correct commodity codes for traditional Scottish goods, with the assistance of IOE&IT trade and customs specialist Lyn Dewsbury.

Please note, however, that this article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice on any of the commodities included.

Scotch whisky

Scotch whisky is one of Scotland’s, indeed the UK’s, most famous delicacies and exports.

When typing the keyword ‘scotch’ into the UK Integrated Tariff tool online, the commodity code 22083030 appears.

You should note, though, that the goods are subject to excise duties and procedures. If you’re not familiar with these, you should consider taking the IOE&IT’s excise training course.


Another famous Scottish product is shortbread, for which you could use the commodity code 1905319900.

Fortunately, for trade with the EU there is a preferential tariff of 0% under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), meaning your EU partners won’t need to pay any duties on the biscuit, if they comply with the rules of origin in that deal.


Sgian-dubh is Scots Gaelic for ‘black blade’ and it is considered a key part of any traditional Scottish Highlands outfit. It traditionally served as a Scottish version of a Swiss army knife in that it had multiple purposes, such as cutting fruits, meats, bread and cheese; being used for hunting; or as a protective tool. However, its purpose today is largely symbolic.

The commodity code you might want to use for it is 8211920000 and if you were importing it from, say, the US, you’d need to pay the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rate of 8%. There is a preferential rate of 0% under the TCA for trade with the EU.

You should note that, when the customs declaration is being made, it is necessary to add a waiver code to confirm that the knife is not subject to the Washington Convention regulations or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that protects endangered plants and animals.

However, if the knife has an ivory handle, it would then be subject to these controls.


Think of Scotland and you might instantaneously hear the sounds of bagpipes playing in your head. Think of customs and bagpipes and you might hear the commodity code 9205909000.

As with the sgian-dubh above, though, you may need to use a waiver code when completing a declaration to confirm the bagpipes don’t contain ivory or bone.


Last but not least, the thistle – the national emblem of Scotland. According to legend (or the National Trust for Scotland), the thistle became iconic in Scotland when a group of Norse invaders tried to sneak up on Scottish warriors by going barefoot, but upon stepping on a thistle, one of them cried out in pain, alerting the Scots to their impending attack.

The thistle has since become a symbol of Scotland’s resilience as a nation, but you may know it better for the commodity code 0601209000.