What customs aspects need to be considered when dealing with imports?

Monitor your commodity codes

When classifying imported goods, knowing the related processes is a critical factor. An annual review of your commodity codes is imperative to avoid unnecessary costs. With a lifecycle management approach, you can keep up with commodity number changes and gain a competitive advantage in your market.

"Working with classification and looking at commodity codes from a lifecycle perspective is important for all companies. Commodity codes govern restrictions, licenses and regulations. Therefore, you should see commodity codes as constantly evolving, making classification a competitive factor worth spending time on. Life cycle, in this case, means that it is not static, but should be revised regularly. If you get the foundation right, you will ensure that everything else follows correctly too," says Peter Ruotsalainen, Key Account Manager at Maersk.

Check your commodity codes regularly

World trade patterns change course rapidly, particularly in logistics and supply chains. Consequently, your customs handling must keep up too. When it comes to the classification of goods, it is necessary to have regular checks. A commodity code is dynamic – you need to manage it via life cycles to stay compliant and know what rules and regulations apply to you and how to handle them.

Always keep track of:

  • Bi-annual commodity code updates in January and July by the European Union.
  • HS code updates every five years.
  • New regulations that may affect your product components and, by extension, your commodity codes.
  • New restrictions that may affect the import of your products.
  • Anti-dumping measures announced by the EU, which can impose Anti-Dumping Duties (ADDs) on a supplier or your imported products. A correct commodity code classification is necessary to avoid ADD liabilities.
  • Evaluate the effect of any product specification or manufacturing changes (i.e., what you import) on your commodity codes.
A man standing outside a container

Minimise the risk of fines and permit revocation

One invalid or incorrect commodity code is often an indication that other deviations may also exist. Correct codes ensure compliance with any simplified customs declarations. Incorrect codes can cause payments of excessive or insufficient VAT or customs duties which increases your costs.

If you pay too little, you may face legal fines and/or penalties. Customs may even delay or seize your goods. Keep an eye on the life cycle and you will have a flow in your customs master data. With your codes up-to-date and valid, can withstand an audit successfully.

Woman holding Euro currency notes

Classification is cost-effective

Getting all your codes in line from the start requires significant investment, both in resources and time. The most important task is to sort all customs master data with the current codes to determine which codes need to be revised. After that, you only need to make annual updates to enhance cost-effectiveness.

By regularly reviewing your codes, you will discover where free trade agreements can be utilised to optimise your customs duties and cut costs. This also allows you to keep track of regulated markets where anti-dumping fees are regularly imposed.

Barcode scanning

The importance of classification

One wrong code can prove risky. For example, if your company is importing from a country outside the EU at a low cost, keep in mind that the destination country will impose anti-dumping duties, which can make importing the goods more expensive than anticipated.

Establishing processes, routines and systems not only ensures compliance but also helps overcome obstacles in your daily business.

Want to learn more?

Revising your commodity codes is important to stay compliant and make the right strategic business decisions. If you would like to learn more about what we can do for your business, contact our Maersk Customs experts.

Anything you need, we’re here to help


Logistics solutions

We meet customer needs from one end of the supply chain to the other.

Contact us

Our dedicated team of experts are here for you.
Find Prices

Ready to ship?

Look up rates for new shipments and inland tariffs.
Stay informed
Sign up for news and insights
Stay ahead of the curve with valuable supply chain trends sent directly to your inbox

By submitting this form, I agree to receive logistics related news and marketing updates from A. P. Moller-Maersk and its affiliated companies via e-mail. I understand that I can opt out of such Maersk communications at any time. To see how we process your personal data, please see our Privacy Notification.

Thank you for signing up
You have now signed up for newsletters. You will shortly receive an email which will explain how to set your newsletter preferences.
You can unsubscribe anytime.