Customs update: HMRC removes CDS commodity code requirement for Export MoU

Mon 22 Jan 2024
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

lorry at border post

The government has said it will be removing a commodity code requirement for export declarations submitted via the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

The change will apply to those submitting export declarations under the Export Memorandum of Understanding (Export MoU) via CDS.

“The change will mean that commodity codes for these goods will no longer be required when submitting supplementary declarations through the new CDS”, HMRC said in a letter to traders.

Planned changes

The government agency has said that it is giving advanced notice so that traders “can take action and plan accordingly.”

The change will take effect from Tuesday (23 January) onwards, after which a commodity code will no longer be needed, providing the supplementary declaration is submitted through CDS.

HMRC says that those using the old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system do not need to take any further action.


The Export MoU is a measure agreed to between the government and the express delivery industry, described by HMRC “as an easement for low-value post and parcel exports travelling from Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.

It is frequently used by Fast Parcel Operators (FPOs) and reduces the amount of paperwork needed for smaller exports by clearing a large proportion of parcels that express operators regularly move across borders.

In order for a package to qualify, the goods value needs to be less than £900 and must not be controlled, restricted or subject to other customs procedures (like inward or outward processing or customs warehousing).

Upcoming deadline

HMRC also used the opportunity to remind traders to complete their move to using CDS for export ahead of the 30 March deadline.

The long-running CHIEF-to-CDS switchover is approaching its final stages, with the government saying that it is working to help businesses complete the move ahead of the final deadline.

CHIEF hasn’t been operational for import declarations since 30 September 2022.

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has a number of solutions to help support businesses with the move to CDS. Click here to find out more.