How many commodity codes are on your Christmas tree?

It’s the festive season, you’ve got the Christmas tree up, and you’ve started to think about getting your dinner plans and presents prepared. But did you know that most of the things around you on Christmas Day have been imported? If you did, then you might have wondered how HS codes and origins affect the prices you pay.

Find out about how the typical things on your Christmas tree are classified in this article.

Classifying the goods on your Christmas tree

Everything on your tree has its  own HS code, duty rate, and rules for origin. Here are some examples of how these can affect your Christmas tree this December:

Christmas tree from Denmark

Let’s start with the Christmas tree, which you can import under HS code 0604 2020 00. There is no duty on your tree, so you only need to pay the 20% VAT on arrival at the border. Assuming that it costs £45 CIF, you will pay £9 when importing a Christmas tree.

Christmas lights from China


The lights on your Christmas tree are imported under heading 9405 3100 00, which attracts a 2% duty for third countries. China is in this category, so the duty is applicable. If you were to buy a box of Christmas lights from China for £25 CIF, then you will pay 50p in duty. You will pay 20% VAT on the cost and duty (£25.50), so you will add £5.10 to your costs to make the total value £30.60.

Baubles from China and Germany

Baubles come in plastic, glass, and other materials. Here is an example of how different codes and origins affect the duty rate.

Plastic baubles from China


If you were to import plastic baubles from China, then you will use HS code 9505 1090 00. This attracts a 2% duty from third countries, the same as Christmas lights, so a £25 package would cost you £30.60 in total as above.

Glass baubles from Germany

If you wanted glass baubles on your Christmas tree, then you would import  them using HS code 9505 1010 00. Unlike the plastic variety, glass baubles have a duty rate of 0% so you only pay the 20% VAT. Therefore, on your £25 package, you would expect to pay only £30 in total instead of £30.60.


What if it was the other way around?

Glass baubles are 0% no matter where you import them from. However, this isn’t the same when you are importing plastic baubles.

Germany is inside the European Union, so importers in the UK benefit from a 0% duty when the goods are originating there. Therefore, both glass and plastic baubles from Germany are duty-free.

Check our other post  for more information on how to calculate duty and VAT in the UK.

Other expenses and considerations 


The duty rate is not the only thing that can affect your costs when importing a Christmas tree. Freight rates, currency conversions, and timelines should also be considered. Goods from China often have a higher transit time, and can be more subject to delays in transit. However, goods from Europe can be more costly, and the shortage of hauliers might make delivery less reliable.

Need help with clearances during the festive season?

No matter where you are importing a Christmas tree from, you’ll need an import clearance when it gets to the UK. Universal Customs Clearance provide an easy-to-use form for you to enter your details, and can provide you with customs clearance at all major UK ports. Contact us for more information today.



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