Customs Code: Complete and Practical Guide

International Freight Forwarder

Have you ever had difficulty finding the correct customs code for your products? In this article, we will demystify the concept of the customs code and explain its crucial importance for international trade. 

Understanding and mastering these codes can significantly facilitate your import-export operations. Let us guide you through the steps to find and effectively use a customs code in France, and discover how our services can help you navigate these complex waters.

  • Understanding the definition and utility of the customs code
  • Exploring the role of the customs code in international trade


What is the customs code?

Customs code, also known as an HS code (Harmonized System), is a numerical identifier assigned to each type of product to facilitate international trade. These codes are essential for uniformly classifying goods worldwide, thus harmonizing customs procedures.

The Harmonized System is used by more than 200 countries as the basis for their customs tariffs and for collecting data on international trade statistics.

according to the World Customs Organization (WCO).

This standardized classification helps businesses determine customs duties, complete customs declarations, and comply with international regulations.

The 10-digit customs code

In France, the 10-digit customs code is used for a more precise classification of products. This structure is divided into several sections: the first six digits correspond to the international HS code, while the additional four digits are specific to the European Union and France for statistical and regulatory purposes. 

For example, a customs code for a car might be 8703 21 10 10, where each segment provides specific details about the type and characteristics of the product. This level of precision is crucial for ensuring compliance and optimizing logistical processes.

How to find a customs code?

To find the customs code for a product, various online tools are available. The official French Customs website offers an exhaustive database where you can search for codes based on your product descriptions. 

Tools like the EU’s TARIC also offer similar functionalities. Once the code is found, it must be used for all customs formalities, including import and export declarations.


  1. Access the French Customs website.
  2. Enter your product description in the search bar.
  3. Select the corresponding code from the results.

Marc, a logistics expert, shares:

Using the correct customs codes has not only simplified our processes but also reduced costs related to classification errors.

Recommended search tools for customs code

  • Customs code search tool.
  • TARIC EU customs tariff database.

For personalized advice, feel free to contact one of our customs experts. Our services are here to assist you with all your customs procedures and ensure the smooth operation of your international transactions.

The importance of customs code in international trade

The customs code plays a crucial role in international trade by enabling the uniform classification of goods exchanged between countries. This classification is essential for several reasons, including determining customs duties, managing trade restrictions, and improving trade statistics.

Classification of goods

Precise classification of products using customs codes allows the authorities of each country to understand exactly what goods are entering and leaving their borders. 

A precise classification is fundamental to ensuring that the correct taxes and restrictions are applied to imported and exported goods. 

according to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

This precision also helps avoid misunderstandings and trade disputes between trading partners.

Customs duties

Customs duties, or import taxes, are calculated based on the customs code assigned to each product. These duties can vary significantly depending on the type of product and its country of origin. 

For example, a product classified under a specific customs code may be subject to higher or lower tax rates, directly influencing the final cost for the importer. In 2023, customs duties accounted for about 15% of the revenues of many developing countries, highlighting their economic importance.

Trade restrictions

Customs codes also help apply trade restrictions, such as quotas, import bans, and security regulations. 

For example, certain chemicals or technologies may require special licenses or be subject to strict restrictions due to their sensitive nature. 

Customs codes allow authorities to effectively control these products and ensure compliance with international regulations.

International trade statistics

Customs codes facilitate the collection and analysis of data on international trade. These statistics are essential for governments and international organizations to understand trade flows, identify trends, and make informed policy decisions. 

For example, in 2022, global merchandise trade reached a record volume of $19.67 trillion, according to WCO statistics.

The customs code ensures uniform classification of goods, facilitates the calculation of customs duties, helps manage trade restrictions, and improves statistical data collection. To ensure the smooth operation of your international transactions, it is crucial to understand and use these codes correctly.

Our customs service

At Worldgistic, we understand the crucial importance of customs codes and formalities for the success of your international operations. Our customs services are designed to simplify and optimize every step of your procedures, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

Why choose us?

Using experts for managing your customs codes and formalities offers numerous advantages:

  • Accuracy and Compliance : Our experts ensure precise classification of your products, minimizing the risks of non-compliance and associated penalties.
  • Cost Optimization : By using the correct customs codes, we help reduce your customs duties and other fees.
  • Time Savings : Our services significantly reduce the time required to process customs formalities.
  • Personalized Advice : We offer solutions tailored to your specific needs, based on an in-depth analysis of your supply chain.

Jean-Marc, an electronics goods importer, shares:

Using Worldgistic has transformed our customs management. Their expertise has allowed us to reduce costs and streamline our operations. I highly recommend their services.

Élodie, a food products exporter, says:

Thanks to Worldgistic's support, we have navigated the complexities of international regulations without stress. Their team is competent and always available.

To discover how our services can transform your customs management, request a free quote today. Our experts are ready to provide a personalized analysis of your customs needs.

Contact our experts for a free quote.

Let us help you navigate the complexities of customs formalities with expertise and efficiency.

Curious about how recent developments in e-commerce are influencing customs regulations? Check out our Customs Services FAQ to find a wealth of useful answers and deepen your knowledge of customs formalities management.


Worldgistic is the number one international freight forwarder in Southeast Asia and Europe. With over 15 years of experience and a team of qualified experts, choose Worldgistic!

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