UK's commodity code system to remain the same on 1 January 2021

Wed 2 Dec 2020
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The Department for International Trade has confirmed that the existing commodity code system will continue to apply from 1 January onwards, when the UK has left the Single Market and EU Customs Code.

From the start of 2021, the UK will apply a new tariff to imported goods when the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) replaces the EU’s Common External Tariff (CET).

Commodity codes are 10-digit numbers allocated to goods to classify them for import and export purposes and to identify the correct duties payable.

On 1 January the current commodity codes will continue to be used for trade between Great Britain and the EU and Rest of the World, for trade between GB and Northern Ireland, and from NI to the Rest of the World.

The UK government’s commodity look-up tool on has also been updated, with more information about commodity codes post-31 December here.

Customs experts have welcomed the news that the UK’s commodity codes would remain the same from 1 January onwards.

‘Positive news’ 

One grocery retailer told the Daily Update that it was “positive news that the UK’s commodity code structure will remain the same. Otherwise, there would have been insufficient time to reclassify thousands of products ahead of the end of December when transition ends”.

HM Government consulted widely in developing UKGT. Designed to make importing easier for UK businesses, UKGT will apply to all goods imported into the UK – unless the country from which the imports originate has a trade agreement with the UK.

Other exceptions include tariff suspensions or goods come from countries part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

The UKGT simplifies and liberalises many tariffs on goods imported into the UK.