Frequently asked questions
To search for a question in the frequently asked questions, you can use the search function or browse the list of terms
The reports obtained from this database are not official documents. Care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within the database, but no responsibility can be accepted by the European Commission or the data providers for any inadvertent errors or omissions. By proceeding and viewing the data you are agreeing to these terms.
The Access2Markets portal has been produced in English and offers machine translation into all EU languages in the narrative part (all static web-pages). In the dynamic part, i.e. where you look for product specific information it is available in English.
The Access2Markets website is an interactive, free online service where EU companies can find information a) on import conditions for the EU Market, b) on export conditions for over 130 non-EU countries as well as c) information on intra-EU trade.
On the Access2Markets portal you can find information on tariffs and internal taxes that you have to pay for your product in the importing country, be it into the EU or to third countries. You can also find information on many other key areas of international trade that may be important for you, such as information on relevant rules of origin, trade agreements that the EU has in place with third countries, an indication of anti-dumping duties that might be temporarily in place, customs and import procedures, formalities and requirements, including samples of the necessary forms to be completed, the main trade barriers faced, etc.
For companies that are not familiar with international trade, the Access2Markets portal also provides more detailed guidance, such as detailed step-by-step guides for trading goods and services, explanations of key trade concepts, useful contact information for companies, company success stories, and latest news on trade-related issues.
For imports into the EU the Access2Markets portal covers all non-EU countries. For EU exports the portal delivers data for over 120 non-EU markets, which represent 90% of the EU´s export value for goods.
For import, all countries are already available in the country menu. The export destinations covered by Access2Markets depend on the importance of the market. Decisions are taken case-by-case.
When exporting to a non-EU market not covered by this database, we recommend to contact the customs office of the country.
Unless stated otherwise, the tariff refers to the net weight, which is the weight of the goods themselves without packaging or containers of any kind.
Use My Trade Assistant on Access2Markets. Fill in the ‘country from’, the ‘country to’ and the product code, and launch your search. The results will show information about the applicable duties.
No. The EU is a customs union, so you only pay duties once, when your product first enters the EU customs territory.
No, the Access2Markets portal produces the duty rates for a specific product and a specific market.
Excise duties are applied at national level and payable upon release for consumption. If the product is imported into an EU country but transported to and supplied to another EU country, excise duties are due in the EU country where the products will eventually be consumed or used.
VAT is paid in the country where the product is sold. Import duties, on the other hand, are paid when the products enter the EU customs territory. So, for example if the product arrives first in the Netherlands before reaching the final destination in France, import duties will be paid in the Netherlands, but VAT will be due in France.
The product descriptions of the EU´s Combined Nomenclature (CN) are available in all 23 EU languages. The ones of the Harmonised System (HS) are available in English only.
The Combined Nomenclature – laid down in the CN Regulation (2658/87) – is the EU's system for classifying traded goods. All goods imported into or exported from the EU must be classified for customs purposes. Each separate product is assigned a particular classification code.
The Combined Nomenclature (CN) sets out the general rules for the classification of goods to an eight-digit level and is updated on a yearly basis. It is established on the basis of the Harmonised System (HS).
The Combined Nomenclature shall comprise
- (a) the Harmonised System nomenclature
- (b) community subdivisions to that nomenclature, referred to as CN subheadings
- (c) preliminary provisions, additional section or chapter notes and footnotes relating to CN subheadings. Each CN subheading shall have an eight digit code number
- (a) the first six digits shall be the code numbers relating to the headings and subheadings of the Harmonised System nomenclature
- (b) the seventh and eighth digits shall identify the CN subheadings
The HS classification is uniform for all countries only through the first 6 digits. Any country may choose to further break down the 6-digit classification to more specifically describe a product.
Eight digits is generally considered to be fully qualified for customs purposes, but some countries may require also 9, 10 or further digits to completely describe the specific good being imported. But the same 8-digit class can represent different products in different countries. For example, 2001.90.30 means “sweet corn” in the EU-27 classification and “beans” in the US classification.
As a general rule, tariff nomenclatures should only be compared on the six digit level. However, if the version of the Harmonised System is deviating, there may be also limits for this comparison. Starting from the six digit level it is possible to match codes by comparing the goods' descriptions of the further subheadings. However, there are also certain cases in which goods may be classified differently in different customs areas.
The first 6 digits of EU's combined nomenclature (CN) is the same as the first 6 HS digits. Only for the numbers after 6 digits the CN starts do deviate from the HS code for a more detailed categorisation – which helps us to give clear, detailed information on your product.
There are several ways to define the classification code for your product: (1) if you have imported or exported the same product already you will find the code on the customs documents (2) if not, you can use the A2M portal and browse the product tree, for imports this is the EU nomenclature (CN) and for exports it is the Harmonised System of the non-EU country (3) to be entirely sure you can ask the customs office of the importing country for a Binding Tariff Information.
To obtain Binding Tariff Information, you must apply to the customs authorities of the EU country you wish to export to using the BTI application form. The BTI is valid throughout the EU, regardless of which EU country issued it. All BTIs issued by the national customs authorities are held in the European Binding Tariff Information database.
The TARIC (Integrated Tariff of the European Communities) code is designed to show the various rules applying to specific products when imported into the EU. This includes the provisions of the Harmonised System (HS) and the Combined Nomenclature (CN) but also additional provisions specified in Community legislation such as tariff suspensions, tariff quotas and tariff preferences, which exist for the majority of the Community’s trading partners. At import into the EU, the 10-digit TARIC code must be used in customs declarations.
Yes, the Access2Markets portal includes information about the rules of origin of all EU trade agreements and of the unilaterial preferential system, the Generalised Scheme of Preferences.
To retrieve the rules of origin for your product please launch a search via My Trade Assistant search form. Rules of origin will be listed amongst the search results.
The information on rules of origin in the search results will also explain how importers have to proove the origin of the product they import.
First, consult the rules of origin check-list. If you still have doubts, ask your national customs authority. If you want to be absolutely certain, apply for a binding origin information decision (BOI) from the relevant authority in an EU country. Once issued, BOIs are binding for the customs authorities in all EU countries. Note that you will still be required to provide proof of origin.
You may choose the arrangement most beneficial for you. Please check the individual rules of origin carefully to make sure your product qualifies.