Help with classifying goods

This section is Guidance

Find out about how goods are classified, finding commodity codes and how to allocate a commodity code to your goods.

How goods are classified

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publishes data on trade in goods using 2 classification systems:

  • commodity codes
  • Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

For trade statistics purposes commodity codes are mostly compiled using the UK Tariff classification system.

The EU’s Combined Nomenclature (CN) is still used for trade statistics purposes for Northern Ireland trade. However, the commodity codes found in the CN are the same as used in the UK Tariff.

Commodity Codes

Commodity codes classify goods for import and export so traders can:

• fill in declarations and other paperwork
• check if there is duty or VAT to pay
• find out about duty relief

Each commodity code is made up of a number of different parts, based on:

• the type of product
• the material used to make it
• the production method

For trade statistics purposes we use commodity codes goods at 8 digit level.

The first 6 digits are based on the Harmonized System (HS), a global system for classifying goods developed by the World Customs Organisation.

The HS is organised into sections divided into:

• chapters (2 digit codes or HS-2)
• headings (4 digit codes or HS-4)
• subheadings (6 digit codes or HS-6)

For trade statistics purposes we expand the HS subheading code by 2 further digits.

Example of a commodity code

Commodity code



Dairy produce; bird's eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included


Cheese and curd


Blue-veined cheese and other cheese containing veins produced by Penicillium roqueforti



Standard Interaction Trade Classification (SITC)

The SITC is a standard way of classifying traded goods that is used in statistics on imports and exports. The current version of the SITC is known as Revision 4.

While not as detailed as a commodity code, the SITC is useful for comparing trade data between different countries and years, or analysing long-term trends.

Find commodity data

You can explore and create data tables on our website, using commodity data arranged by either commodity codes or the SITC.

Finding commodity codes for imports or exports

You can search UK Trade Info to find the right commodity code.

You can also use the UK Trade Tariff tool (opens in new tab) to search for import and export commodity codes as well as the tax, duty and licenses that apply to goods.

If you are not sure how to classify a good, you can find out more about ways to help you to find a commodity code (opens in new tab). This includes getting advice from HMRC to find the right code.