Combined Nomenclature (CN)

​​What is a CN Code?

CN stands for Combined Nomenclature. It is the common nomenclature of the European Community and is an 8-digit product classification system used in export declarations and in statistical declarations for trade in the European Community. All products and goods exported from the European Union or imported into European Union must be classified for Customs purposed. Every product will be assigned to a particular product classification code. Changes to the nomenclature occur every year and are updated and reflected into the nomenclature at the beginning of the following year.

The CN is comprised of the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature with further Community subdivisions.

How to Read a CN code?

The CN code is subdivided into a hierarchal, 8 digit code structure followed by a description. The categories at the highest levels are called Sections, followed by Chapter, Sub-Chapter, Heading, and Subheadings. The first 6 digits relate to the harmonized system nomenclature and the last 2 digits relate to the CN subheadings.

Section VII Plastics and Articles Thereof, Rubber and Articles Thereof
Chapter 39 Plastics and Articles Thereof
Sub-Chapter II Waste, Parings and Scrap, Semi-Manufactures; Articles
Heading 3915 Waste, Parings and Scrap, of Plastics
HS Subheading 3915 90 Of other Plastics
CN Subheading 3915 90 11 Of Polymers of Propylene


  • July 23rd, 1987 the Council of the European Communities adopt new regulations on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff.
  • 1988 - The Harmonized System’s entered into force with the merger of the NIMEXE nomenclature and the Common Customs Tariff.
  • Updated yearly

What are CN codes used for?

  • Collection and publishing of products and goods statistics for both intra and extra Community
  • Custom tariffs (Article 9 of the Treaty establishing the EEC) determined by the subheading of the nomenclature
  • Laws on agricultural matters
  • Trade negotiations

Difficulty in classifying products

  • There are estimates that the total number of goods in existence ranges from 50-100 million however there are only about 10,000 subheadings to the CN.
  • Finding the right code for the goods being exported or imported can be challenging
  • Choosing between two or sometimes more possibilities for a given product can present difficulties