Customs Classification of Sets for Retail Sale: Introduction

Lilla Zsitnyanszky

27. September 2023

German Version

In this post, we explain the concept of "sets for retail sale" in the customs tariff and provide examples. Within all relevant EU preference regulations, the term "product sets" refers to a combination of goods that corresponds to General Interpretation Rule 3 (GIR 3b) of the Harmonized System (HS).

These product sets are prepared for retail sale and are characterized by the following features:

  1. Comprise at least two different goods that could potentially belong to different tariff positions.

  2. Are assembled to meet specific needs or support particular activities.

  3. Are packaged in a way that allows them to be directly sold to consumers without further repackaging, such as in boxes, containers, transparent packaging, or on displays.

All three of the above criteria must be met, and product sets of this nature are generally classified in the customs tariff under the position of the character-defining component.

Exceptions to the above rules apply when dealing with product sets that are classified under GR 1 and 6, and where the term "set" is explicitly listed in the KN code. Here are some examples:

  • 6308 00 00: Sets consisting of fabrics and yarn, [...] put up in packings for retail sale.

  • 8206 00 00: Tools consisting of two or more items from the positions [...], put up in packings for retail sale.

  • 9503 00 70: Other toys, put up in sets or outfits.

Examples: Considered as Sets for Retail Sale in Customs Tariff
  • Bathroom/pamper sets consisting of various items such as shower gel, bubble bath, wash soap, body lotion or a combination of shampoo, face cream and hand cream, etc. and also of articles to be used with them such as a sponge or a flannel - the articles are to be used simultaneously, in a sequence.

  • Patient packs for going into hospital/hygiene travel packs, including several articles of a low value, for example, surface wipes, a disposable pen, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, face and body wipes, hand sanitiser, fabric spray, lip balm, soap, a nail brush and a leaflet on hygiene; or hygiene sets consisting, for example, of a soap bar, wrapped with plastic foil, a perfumed paper towel, some paper tissues and two paper seats for toilets (not reusable) presented together in a plastic envelope which is foldable.

  • Drill and ‘rawl plug’ set consisting, for example, of high speed steel twist drill bits, wood twist drill bits, hard metal masonry drill bits, screwdriver bits with a magnetic holder and ‘rawl plugs’. All the components are housed in a plastic case with a subdivided plastic compartment - even if the articles are usually not used together to carry out a specific activity and only some of them can be used at a certain occasion, they can be considered to be put up together to meet a particular need, for example, renovation, fixing or home improvement.

Examples: Not Considered as Sets for Retail Sale in Customs Tariff
  • ‘Christmas baskets/gift baskets’ consisting of different goods, for example: cheese, wine, champagne or liqueurs, tea, jam, olive oil, honey, paté, spices, fruits, etc., are to be classified separately.

  • A "coffee set" in plastic packaging, consisting of flavored instant coffee powder, cinnamon sticks, a small stainless steel grater, a metal container with a lid (containing coffee powder), and a ceramic mug. Each element is classified separately.

  • Bath and pampering sets that include body cleansing products (such as shower gel and soap) and separately usable items like slippers, hand mirrors, hairbrushes, and decorative candles. These items serve different purposes and must be classified separately.

Since the assessment of customs tariff sets often requires individual and careful examination, the European Commission has issued a guideline for interpreting GIR 3b. This guideline can be found at the following link: Guideline Link.

traide Support

There is a wealth of information and legal provisions to consider when it comes to classification. If the classification is incorrect, everything is incorrect: customs duties, export declarations, preferential treatment, export control provisions, excise taxes, sales taxes, and so on.

Why Choose traide AI?

At traide, we are dedicated to the customs tariff number. Our goal with traide is to offer an intelligent software package that achieves and maintains the completeness, currency, and integrity of an entire company's product master data (sometimes millions of products) according to customs tariff requirements over time. In addition, we address the issues that arise before the actual classification process and significantly influence it. This includes, in particular, the quality of the product description, which often provides inadequate information or presents this information in an unstructured and distributed manner (e.g., in HTML format on a webshop or in product data sheets).

At its core, traide software functions as an intelligent digital customs tariff expert. It helps to quickly find the correct customs tariff number, acting as a "Tariff Assistant." It also automatically checks already classified product inventories for formal and substantive accuracy and provides feedback to the user in case of errors. The result is significantly increased throughput and a lower error rate for classified products. This frees up staff resources, creates room for scaling, and enhances security.

Do you have any questions about this? Feel free to write to us! We are happy to assist you.


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