EC amends the Combined Nomenclature

The European Commission has published in the Official Journal of the European Union on October 31st, 2008, Regulation (EC) Nº 1031/2008, amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EEC) Nº 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff. These amendments aim to modernise the Combined Nomenclature and adapt its structures to legislative interests and simplification.

Regulation (EEC) Nº 2658/87 established a goods nomenclature, the so-called “Combined Nomenclature”, to meet, at one and the same time, the requirements of the Common Customs Tariff, the external trade statistics of the Community, and other Community policies concerning
the importation or exportation of goods.

Since then, new requirements and needs have make it necessary to amend this codifications system. It is therefore necessary to amend the Combined Nomenclature, in order to take account of the following elements:

  • Changes in requirements relating to statistics and to commercial policy.
  • Changes made in order to fulfil international commitments.
  • Technological and commercial developments.
  • The need to align or clarify texts.

This new provision involves the general rules for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature, general rules concerning duties, as well as general rules applicable both to nomenclature and to duties. It also provides some special provisions for certain products, and the Schedule of Customs Duties applicable to each CN code.

In accordance with Regulation (EEC) Nº 2658/87, Annex I to that Regulation will therefore be replaced, with effect from January 1st, 2009, by this complete version of the Combined Nomenclature, together with the autonomous and conventional rates of duty resulting from measures adopted by the Council or by the Commission.

The Combined Nomenclature

As the European Economic Community is based on a customs union involving the use of a common customs tariff, it was clear that the the collection and exchange of data on the statistics of external trade of the Community could best be achieved through the use of a combined nomenclature replacing the previously existing Common Customs Tariff and Nimexe nomenclatures.

The combined nomenclature comprises:

  • The harmonized system nomenclature.
  • Community subdivisions to that nomenclature, referred to as “CN subheadings” in those cases where a corresponding rate of duty is specified.
  • Preliminary provisions, additional section or chapter notes and footnotes relating to CN subheadings

The autonomous and conventional rates of duty of the Common Customs Tariff and the supplementary statistical units, as well as other necessary information, are laid down in the Annex to Regulation (EEC) Nº 2658/87.

The Commission also established an integrated tariff of the European Communities, called “Taric, based on the combined nomenclature, comprising additional Community subdivisions, referred to as "Taric' subheadings”, which are needed for the description of goods subject to the specific Community measures, the rates of customs duty and other charges applicable, some code numbers and any other information necessary for the implementation or management of the Community measures

Each CN subheading have an eight digit code number:

  • The first six digits are the code numbers relating to the headings and subheadings of the harmonized system nomenclature.
  • The seventh and eighth digits identify the CN subheadings. (When a heading or subheading of the harmonized system is not further subdivided for Community purposes, the seventh and eighth digits shall be '00').
  • The ninth digit is reserved for the use of the Member States for national statistical subdivisions.
  • The Taric subheadings are identified by the 10th and 11th digits which, together with the code numbers form the Taric code numbers. (In the absence of a Community subdivision, the 10th and 11th digits are '00').
  • Exceptionally, an additional Taric code of four digits may be used for the application of specific Community measures which are not coded, or not entirely coded, at the 10th and 11th digit level.