March 19, 2020
en lt

These are the 6 rules that are applied when setting up a 6-character commodity code. The rules are laid down in the global Harmonized System and transposed into the EU Combined Nomenclature.

It is important to note that Rules 1-4 must be applied sequentially.

Rules 1 to 5 are used to determine the 4 digits of the commodity code (heading), Rule 6 - to determine the digits 5 and 6 (subheading).

Rule 1 

Most goods are classifiable under the Rule 1. It provides that the classification is determined principally by the terms of the headings and the relative section or chapter notes.

Rule 2, points (a) and (b)

2 (a) applies to the classification of goods which are incomplete or unfinished but have the essential character of the complete or finished article.

2 (b) provides that each heading which relates to a particular material or substance shall also apply to the mixtures and combinations consisting of it. For example, although the leather jacket has a cotton lining and metal buttons, this rule allows it to be classified under heading 4203 as a leather jacket. When the goods consisting of several materials are classifiable under two or more headings, Rule 3 applies.

Rule 3, points (a), (b) and (c)

Rule 3 applies when the goods are classifiable under two or more headings. Points (a), (b) and (c) of the Rule 3 shall be applied sequentially.  

3 (a) states that the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred.

3 (b) applies to the classification of mixtures or sets in respect of the material or component which gives them their essential character.

3 (c) is used when the goods cannot be classified by reference to 3 (a) or (b). Such goods shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

Rule 4

Rarely applied, mostly to new technologies. Rule 4 provides that the goods shall be classified under the heading appropriate to the goods to which they are most akin.

Rule 5, points (a) and (b)

5 (a) is applicable to the classification of cases and containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, such as cases for musical instruments, binoculars, ornaments. 

5 (b) indicates how to classify packing materials supplied with packaged goods.

Rule 6

Rule 6 applies after the heading has been determined. It states that the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes. 


The Combined Nomenclature edition applicable in 2020; adopted on October 9, 2019, by the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1776

If you want to learn more about GIR and classification in general, check out online course Tariff classification of goods in the EU.