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When goods are traded, they are described using customs codes. At the high level, these use the Harmonised System (HS) which covers the first six digits of the code;  most countries of the world use this system which is run by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Beyond that, countries or regional customs blocks can use more digits to give a more detailed description of goods.  Within the European Union (EU), this system is known as the Combined Nomenclature (CN) and provides the last two digits of the 8-digit customs codes used for statistical purposes; a further two digits are available for tariff purposes on imports only.

We have been advised that the UK will adopt the new CN with effect from 1st January 2022;  however, the UK government web-site for customs codes does not appear to have been updated yet (see below).

The HS is revised on a 5 year cycle and 2022 will see the introduction of the new HS with changes affecting most of the machine tool codes for metal forming machines.  The relevant chapter - 8462 - has been re-written to reflect modern technology, although inevitably with some compromises and an error in the CN version.  While most codes have changed, there are also some adjustments at the 8-digit level and we would recommend that if you currently use any customs codes in this chapter (8462), then you should check the new codes which will apply from 1st January 2022 (see below).

The other major change is the introduction of new customs codes for Additive Manufacturing machinery. This has a new 4-digit chapter of its own - 8485 - and within that there are sub-divisions at the 6 digit level by type of material.  The code for machines working with metal will be 8485 10 00 with other codes applying for additive machinery working with other materials.

We have not identified any changes affecting other aspects of the manufacturing technology industry such as tooling, metrology, etc. but will keep checking and, of course, update members if we spot anything.

You can check customs codes at and we have been advised that by changing the date to one in 2022, you should get the updated codes;  however, this does not appear to be working and is currently returning the existing codes that apply up to 31st December 2021. We will keep an eye on this and let you know when the system has been updated.  The documents below are extracts from the EU announcements (the codes will be adopted by the UK) covering chapter 8462 and 8485.

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