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Summer fun customs classification challenge: Solution for water bomb maker

Last week, we invited you to join us for the summer classification challenge. The goal was to correctly classify ta water bomb maker. This was tough. Here is the solution to this customs classification challenge.

The Challenge

You are importing the following product into the EU

About the product

A product, presented as a set for retail sale, consisting of

1. a plastic bottle equipped with an air pump and a nozzle (filling apparatus)

2. 100 pieces of multicoloured latex balloons included inside the bottle.

What the product does

The filling apparatus is designed to be filled up with and contain water and is used to pump water into the balloons. When filled with water, the balloons are used as water bombs for outdoor play to entertain children/adults.

What is the eight-digit commodity code when importing into the EU?

The solution:

Classification is determined by general rules 1, 3(c) and 6 for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature and by the wording of CN codes 9503 00 and 9503 00 99 .

The product is, based on its objective characteristics and properties, intended to be used for the amusement of persons when playing a water battle with filled balloons.

It is a set put up for retail sale, in which the component giving the set its essential character cannot be determined.

It is to be classified under the heading that occurs last in numerical order among those that equally merit consideration.

The balloons are covered by heading 9503.

Consequently, classification under heading 8414 or 8424 according to the filling apparatus is excluded.

The product is, therefore, to be classified under heading 9503.

Consequently, the product is to be classified under CN code 9503 00 99 as other toys.

Download the legal text

CELEX_32021R0575_EN_TXT - Ballon water b
Download • 655KB

About tariff classification in the EU

When goods are declared to customs in the European Union, they must be classified according to the Combined Nomenclature or any other nomenclature which is wholly or partly based on the Combined Nomenclature.

Imported and exported goods have to be declared stating under which subheading or further subdivision of the Combined Nomenclature or of these other nomenclatures they fall. This determines which rate of customs duty of the Common Customs Tariff or which non-tariff measures apply.

The term ‘tariff classification of goods’ is defined in Article 57 of the Union Customs Code (UCC). It means determining the subheadings or further subdivisions of the Combined Nomenclature (CN) under which the goods will be classified. Classification is not just used to determine the customs duty rate for a specific subheading.

It is also used to apply non-tariff measures. So, even if all goods were zero-rated for customs purposes, classifications could still be necessary if you need to:

  • apply for an import or export licence

  • find out if import or export restrictions apply

  • issue a certificate of origin

  • claim an export refund or similar

  • determine whether a product is liable to excise duty

  • find out if a reduced value-added tax rate applies (insofar as the CN is used as a basis of reference).

EU classification system

The EU classification system has 2 elements

  1. The Combined Nomenclature (CN) - the EU’s 8-digit coding system. It is based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) - developed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The CN is used for the EU’s common customs tariff. It is also used to provide EU trade statistics.

  2. The Integrated Tariff (TARIC) provides information on all trade policy and tariff measures that apply to specific goods in the EU (e.g. temporary suspension of duties, antidumping duties). It is made up of the 8-digit code of the CN plus 2 extra digits (TARIC subheadings).

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