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Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 of 23 July 1987 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff1 established a nomenclature, known as the ‘combined nomenclature’ or abbreviated to the ‘CN’, based on the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System2, known as ‘the Harmonized System’ or abbreviated to the ‘HS’.

The HS has been supplemented by its own Explanatory Notes (HSENs). Those notes in English and French are issued and kept up to date by the :

Customs Cooperation Council (CCC),
30, rue du Marché,
B-1210 Brussels

By virtue of Articles 9, paragraph 1 (a), second indent, and 10 of Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 the Commission adopts Explanatory Notes to the Combined Nomenclature (CNENs) following consideration by the Tariff and Statistical Nomenclature Section of the Customs Code Committee. Although the CNENs may refer to the HSENs, they do not take the place of the latter but should be regarded as complementary to and used in conjunction with them.

This edition of the CNENs includes and, where appropriate, replaces those published in the Official Journal of the European Union, C series, up to 4 January 20193. CNENs published in the Official Journal, C series, subsequent to that date remain in force and will be incorporated in the CNENs when revised.

In addition, the CN heading and subheading codes to which reference is made reflect those codes in the Combined Nomenclature for 2019, as set out in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/16024.

Furthermore, information concerning ‘Guidelines on the classification in the Combined Nomenclature of goods put up in sets for retail sale’ was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, C series5.


(1) EGT L 256, 7.9.1987, s. 1.
(2) EGT L 198, 20.7.1987, s. 1.
(3) EUT C 2, 4.1.2019, s. 2.
(4) EUT L 273, 31.10.2018, s. 1.
(5) EUT C 105 11.4.2013, s. 1.

A. General rules for the interpretation of the combined nomenclature

General Rule  5 (b)       

Packing containers normally used for marketing beverages, jam, mustard, spices, etc., are to be classified with the goods they contain even if clearly suitable for repetitive use.

C. General rules applicable both to nomenclature and to duties

General Rule 3          

In Article 48(2) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 (7), ‘working days’ means all days other than Saturdays, Sundays and the published public holidays of the European Central Bank.

2. Where no rate is published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on the penultimate working day of the month or the penultimate working day before the fifteenth of the month, the rate referred to in Article 18 (1) of the above Regulation to be used for converting the euro into national currencies shall be the last rate published before the penultimate working day of the month or before the fifteenth.