What is a TARIC code?

Correct sorting, fast and using the latest technology, is key when doing international shipment of goods. In this regard, it is important to know what TARIC codes are. That is why a nomenclature is used in the EU to classify goods based on the TARIC code. This number determines the tariff that is applied in export/import operations. It is a 10-digit numerical tariff code that complements a couple of previous classification systems, adding digits to a list designed to facilitate a wide range of tasks in the international export process and to make goods traffic possible and orderly.

TARIC codes can appear or be required in very unexpected places, even sometimes being a requirement in compensation claim letters!

Let’s break it down into smaller steps, to better understand what are TARIC codes all about.

The Harmonized System (HS)
International trade would be impossible without a proper system of classification of goods crossing borders on a daily basis. Therefore, countries included in the World Trade Organization use the harmonized system. This system establishes a first 6 numerical code figures for goods, depending on their nature. It follows a set of rules for classification. It serves to distinguish raw materials from processed products, also highlighting intermediate states of production.
So we know that the first 6 figures of classification are the same globally, but what appears next? The following numbers can follow different codes established by different countries. However, they are classified using the same set of rules as the first 6 digits.

Combined Nomenclature (NC)
In EU countries, the 6 digits of the harmonized system plus the following two figures (7th + 8th) correspond to a combined nomenclature, and are used for the application of the Common Customs Tariff. That is, the tariff that all EU countries apply to those countries outside the EU. It is a tariff code that not only affects the calculation of tariffs, but is very relevant in that it is used by member countries to obtain commodity traffic statistics.

The TARIC code
The TARIC code can determine the rules that apply to different products when imported into the EU. The function of the TARIC code also has to uses in the implementation of EU trade policies. Hence it is important for large groups of products to not be clubbed together. Therefore, the nomenclature has to achieve the maximum level of specificity in the nature or description of the product. This allows the EU to carry out more precise surveillance or to apply appropriate measures to the traffic of a particular good.

A correct classification will save the exporter time and headaches. it must be mentioned that some additional codes are provided for very specific cases. For example, tariff suspensions for pharmaceuticals or restrictions on products that damage the ozone layer, among many others.

A final word

We hope you better understand what TARIC codes are from this article. Member countries work closely with the European Commission to keep the system agile and current, with almost automatic information transmission. Importers should always work with professionals who are familiar with the latest changes in rules and regulations so that they always classify their products accurately.

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