Customs tariffs on imports

If your enquiry concerns any matter other than EU/UK customs tariffs on industrial products it should be addressed or Tel. 020 7215 5000

Customs tariffs are duties charged on goods at the time of importation into the United Kingdom or a Member State of the EU.

The European Community Common Customs Tariff (CCT)

The EU is a customs union. Member States charge a common tariff on goods from outside the EU. Thereafter, those goods can circulate freely within the rest of the EU without any liability to pay further customs duties when they move from one Member State to another. However, the goods might be subject to other local charges in a Member State such as excise duty and VAT. Enquiries on excise duty and VAT should be addressed to the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) National Advice Service telephone number of 0845 010 9000 or e-mail HMRC National Advice Service  at

The CCT is published annually in the Official Journal of the European Union L Series. The CCT for 2007 was published as Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1549/2006 of 17 October 2006.Published in Official Journal of the European Union L301, volume 49 of 31October 2006. The CCT is also available on CD-ROM. Both the OJ and the CD-ROM can be ordered from The Stationery Office (TSO) Bookshops. The Official Journal in question can be viewed in most major reference libraries.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom

This Tariff, published as three volumes, is based on the CCT. It also sets out general information on tariffs, both full and preferential (see below), and similar measures affecting the import, export and transit of goods; the valuation of goods for import duty purposes; VAT and excise duties. The UK version of the CCT has legal force only where national requirements are concerned. Where the two texts vary the CCT represents the legal position. For those wishing to subscribe the H.M. Revenue and Customs Tariff is available from The Stationery Office (TSO) (020 7873 0011). The annual subscription is around £250. The Tariff is also available on CD-ROM. The web address for the TSO is:

Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS)

It is the legal responsibility of the importer or exporter to classify goods in accordance with the HS.
The CCT is based on this internationally agreed system of classification. Any enquiry about tariffs will be facilitated if the enquirer knows the commodity code for the goods in question, preferably at eight-digit level. To obtain advice on classification please contact HMRC’s Tariff Classification Enquiry Helpline on 01702 36 6077. Alternatively you may send your enquiry by e-mail to

Preferential rates

Preferential rates, providing for elimination or partial elimination of the full rate, apply in the context of preferential or free-trade agreements which the EU has entered into with third countries or groupings of third countries. To qualify for preferential treatment the goods must meet the relevant origin rules. For Further information on such rules see DTI's Rules of Origin related link on right hand side of this page.

Departmental responsibilities

HMRC is responsible for interpreting the HS, exercising control over imports and exports, and administering tariff related measures on behalf of other Government departments. As a general rule, therefore, questions concerning the day-to-day administration of tariff matters should be emailed  to HMRC National Advice Service  at

The Department of Trade and Industry has overall responsibility for international trade policy. This encompasses tariff matters dealt within the context of past GATT and future WTO rounds of multilateral negotiations on trade.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is responsible for all tariff matters affecting the Common Agricultural Policy. As such DEFRA handles questions on import duties, quotas and suspensions in the agricultural sector and export refunds. Enquiries should therefore be made direct to DEFRA tel. 0845 933 5577 or where appropriate the Intervention Board at Reading tel. 0118 958 3626. DEFRA can also be contacted by e-mail at:

Third-country tariff rates

Some information is readily available from the UK Trade & Investment Website. Enquiries may also find it beneficial to make a direct approach through the commercial sections of embassies.

For additional advice specifically on EU tariffs for industrial products (HS Chapters 25 to 97) please contact the Department's Europe and World Trade Directorate, Bay 4132, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H OET

Colin Wray
Tel: 020 7215 5059
Fax: 020 7215 2234