A commodity code is a unique code typically made up of six, eight or ten digits long which define:
- the customs duties applicable to the goods
- the preferential treatments that apply to them goods
- the restrictions of them specific goods, i.e. dangerous goods or prohibited materials
If the commodity code is six digits, these are known as Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) codes which are used internationally to monitor trade volumes.
If the commodity code is eight or ten digits long, these will be specifically for import and export trade between EU countries.
It is ultimately the importers or exporters responsibility to define the commodity codes for each product, it is illegal for the freight forwarder to determine the commodity code without receiving the information from the imported first.