Product Descriptions: Important Element in Customs Procedures

Lilla Zsitnyanszky

12. Januar 2024

For the correct tariff classification and product identification in customs procedures the base is the correct and informative customs description. This is critical a) for the correct customs classification b) for the customs declaration to avoid business risks like extra authority checks & audits, delays, penalties. However there are some official documents about how a correct product description looks like, the general criteria is to include the necessary customs tariff relevant information / tariff attributes.

How does an ideal product description look like?

Depending on the product art, we collected a few basic information:

  • The usual trade description of the goods must be declared, which must be precise enough to allow immediate and clear identification and classification of the goods in the customs tariff.

  • If this description does not clearly identify the type of goods, it must be supplemented by information on the type of material, the type of processing, the intended use or other characteristics that characterize the type of goods.

  • For chemicals, it is advisable to state the CAS number (CAS = Chemical Abstract Service).

  • For species-protected animals or plants or their parts and products that contain or are made from such animals or plants, the scientific species name in particular must be stated.

  • In the case of vehicles within the meaning of the German VAT Act, which require a license for their intended use in road traffic, the chassis number (= VIN [Vehicle Identification Number]) and, if an export license plate has been issued, also the number of this export license plate.

Examples with acceptable and unacceptable terms for product descriptions

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