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BTIs explained: how to use them to classify goods?

BTIs are a useful tool for the classification of goods. That is why, since 2009, Taric Support has been keeping a complete history of BTIs. An ideal database to help you determine the correct classification. What exactly are BTIs, and how can you use them for the right classification? We will explain this in this article.

What is a BTI?

BTIs, or binding tariff information, are decisions made by the customs authorities of EU member states regarding the classification of goods. If you want certainty about the commodity code to be used before importing or exporting a good, you can apply for a BTI.

Use of the commodity code after applying for a BTI is mandatory

Once you have applied for a BTI, Customs will determine the appropriate commodity code for your goods. They will provide you with a classification to be used for your product. This classification decision is valid for three years, and as a BTI applicant, you are obliged to use this classification. If the classification differs from what you had hoped for, this can pose a significant disadvantage.

The EBTI database

BTIs are issued by the customs authorities of all the different EU member states. As a result, there is a possibility that different countries may classify goods differently. To minimise this risk, all classification decisions are published in an EU database called the EBTI database (EBTI stands for European Binding Tariff Information). These decisions are anonymised, so it is no longer possible to see who made the application.

BTI validity period

BTIs are valid for three years and remain available on the EBTI database during this period. After that, they disappear and can no longer be found. This is a pity, because BTIs are such a useful tool for determining the classification of a commidity.

Classification of goods using BTIs

The EBTI database is a very useful tool for classifying goods, as it contains all currently valid BTIs and therefore around 100,000 classified goods. In fact, if you are classifying goods and you find a similar product in the EBTI database, you already have a good indication of how your product should be classified.

Once you have found a BTI and thus a possible classification for your product, it is still important to check whether this classification is correct. 

You can do this by consulting the following sources:

- The text of the nomenclature and the notes to the sections and chapters, as these are the legal basis for classification. 

- The explanatory notes (both to the Harmonised System, issued by the WCO, and to the Combined Nomenclature, issued by the EU). 

- Check whether the WCO has issued classification opinions for your product, whether the EU has issued classification regulations, and whether there are any relevant rulings by national courts and/​or the European Court of Justice. 

- Check the conclusions of the Customs Code Committee.

If you have used BTIs to determine the correct classification for your goods, remember that you cannot be absolutely certain that your product should be classified in the same way. BTIs only apply to those who have requested them. You cannot rely on the BTI, but there is a good chance that your goods will get the same classification. You can also justify to customs that you chose a particular classification because you found a similar BTI.

BTIs and classification in Taric Support

As mentioned earlier, we find BTIs to be such a valuable tool that we have been collecting them for years, amassing over 600,000 in our platform. Another advantage of looking up BTIs in Taric Support is that we automatically translate them. This allows you to read BTIs issued in the languages of other EU member states, proving particularly useful if you don’t speak Hungarian or Finnish, and also beneficial for your Hungarian or Finnish customers or suppliers.

Taric Support seamlessly integrates BTI search functionality with commodity code search. When you search for a commodity code, you’ll also receive results for codes associated with BTIs issued for the product you’re seeking.

When verifying the accuracy of a code, you have access to a comprehensive range of resources, including section and chapter notes, explanatory notes, classification opinions, classification rules, court decisions, and conclusions from the Customs Code Committee. All these resources are updated daily.

If you need to classify goods under the UK Customs Tariff, you’ll be pleased to know that Taric Support also provides access to Advance Tariff Rulings, the UK equivalent of BTIs.

Try Taric Support for free

Do you want to use the full BTI history when classifying goods? With Taric Support, you have access to an extensive database of over 600,000 BTIs, which are automatically translated into all EU languages. You can easily search for BTIs by commodity code, product description, or other criteria. In addition, you have access to all other relevant sources for checking the validity of a classification.

Try Taric Support for 14 days free
October 182023

At Taric Support, we’re obsessed by customs data.

As customs information experts ourselves, we love to dive into the nitty-gritty details. We feel that seeking out complex legislative information is a thrill. We love to study all possible data sources meticulously so that we can assure that all information for a commodity code is complete and up-to-date. And so we also know what it takes to meet all customs formalities.

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