Date: 10.12.2020

Tariff code continuity post-transition is good news

The Department for International Trade has confirmed that current commodity codes will continue to be used for trade between Great Britain and the EU, when transition ends on 31st December and the UK has left the Single Market and EU Customs Code.

From the start of 2021, the UK will apply a new tariff to imported goods when the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) replaces the EU’s Common External Tariff (CET).

The government says that the UKGT is simpler, easier to use and lower tariff regime than the EU’s Common External Tariff (EU’s CET) and will be in pounds, not euros. It will scrap red tape and other unnecessary barriers to trade, reduce cost pressures and increase choice for consumers.

Commodity codes are 10-digit numbers allocated to goods to classify them for import and export purposes and to identify the correct duties payable.

On the 1st January the current commodity codes will continue to be used for trade between Great Britain and the EU and the Rest of the World, for trade between GB and Northern Ireland, and from NI to the Rest of the World.

The UK government’s commodity look-up tool on has also been updated, with more information about commodity codes post-31st December here.

Changing the commodity code structure would have been hugely problematic as there would have been insufficient time for traders to reclassify thousands of products.

We think that UK importers will have enough changes to deal with after the end of the EU transition period and welcome the news that the UK’s commodity codes will remain the same from the 1st January onwards.

The government ran a consultation, that generated 1,394 responses from businesses, business representatives, consumers, civil society groups, associations and other interested individuals and organisations, to inform development of the UKGT.

UKGT will apply to all goods imported into the UK – unless the country from which the imports originate has a trade agreement with the UK.

Other exceptions include tariff suspensions or goods that originate in countries that are part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

The UKGT simplifies and liberalises many tariffs on goods imported into the UK.

For more information see the government’s guide

Metro’s post Brexit Task Team are working tirelessly to ensure we minimise disruptions. 

Please contact Jade Barrow or Andrew White for further information.