Version: 1.0.20.21 (2020-10-12 14:45)

Combined Nomenclature

The Combined Nomenclature (CN) is the EU's eight-digit coding system, comprising the Harmonised System (HS) codes with further EU subdivisions. It serves the EU's common customs tariff and provides statistics for trade within the EU and between the EU and the rest of the world.

How does it work?

Each subdivision of the nomenclature is known as a ‘CN code’. It has an 8-digit code number followed by a description and a duty rate. Depending on the case, it may contain a supplementary unit.

CN subheadings, which are stated in declarations for imports and exports, determine

  • which rate of customs duty applies to a particular good
  • how the goods are treated in statistics and regulations

What's in the nomenclature?

  • preliminary provisions (general rules for classification, rules related to duties or to nomenclatures etc.)
  • descriptions of the goods
  • additional section/chapter notes and footnotes relating to CN subdivisions
  • conventional duty rates – the EU tariff commitments in the WTO, and some EU autonomous duties
  • supplementary units
  • a set of tariff-related annexes (agriculture, chemistry, etc.) and a special coding system (Chapters 98 and 99)

Find it in Annex I to the Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87. The nomenclature is updated yearly and published in the EU's Official Journal.

To help you, use the Explanatory Notes to the Combined Nomenclature which offer detailed explanations for every category of products. Bear in mind that the explanatory notes are not legally binding.

Example of product classification

HS chapter

2 digits

18 Cocoa and Cocoa preparations

HS heading

4 digits

1806 Chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa

HS subheading

6 digits

1806 10 Cocoa powder, containing added sugar or sweetening matter

CN subheading

8 digits

1806 10 15 Containing no sucrose or containing less than 5% by weight of sucrose (including invert sugar expressed as sucrose) or isoglucose expressed as sucrose

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