Starting March 1st, all packages bound for the European Union (EU) now require Harmonized System (HS) Codes and detailed item descriptions for every item imported.

The EU’s Import Control System 2 (ICS2) initiative is requiring these new import regulations to be implemented as a part of their overhaul of international commerce and shipping. ICS2 is an electronic customs import system that gathers information on all goods entering the EU before they arrive. This overhaul is an effort to provide improved security, accelerate customs processing, and appropriately apply duties and taxes to all items imported into the EU.

  • USPS Announcement
  • UPS Announcement
  • FedEx Announcement

Avoid putting your packages, revenue, and customer satisfaction in danger by providing this additional information about your shipments!

Let’s jump right into the details!

New import regulations apply to all outgoing international packages heading to European countries that adhere to EU customs rules.
  • Here’s the list of countries
Even if the end destination is outside the EU, these requirements still apply to packages traveling through the EU.
On your customs declaration form, every item in your package must be listed.
A Harmonized System (HS) Code and detailed item description are required for every item.
  • HS Code: six-digit code that is recognized universally
    • Click here to search for your product’s HS code
  • Detailed Item Descriptions:
    • Cannot be a general category (EX: “electronics”)
    • Must be specific (EX: “computer” or “mobile phone”)
If you do not enter an HS Code for each item, you will receive an error.
  • This is what the error will look like

How can Ordoro help?

  • Ordoro allows you to store HS Codes and Item Descriptions for each product
    • Allowing this information to populate automatically when creating international shipping labels
  • Add or update HS Codes or customs information manually or in bulk on the product level
  • Easily update the Customs Declaration form on an order

Why are these changes important?

Ensuring your business complies with these new regulations will help you avoid any extra headaches! By implementing these changes:

  • Your packages will go through customs quicker
  • You will help decrease transit times
  • You will avoid delays, fines, and penalties
  • You will help ensure the correct duties and taxes are assigned
  • International revenue loss will reduce
  • Fraud will decrease and accountability will increase

What are Harmonized System (HS) Codes?

The International Trade Administration defines Harmonized System (HS) Codes as, “a standardized numerical method of classifying traded products. It is used by customs authorities around the world to identify products when assessing duties and taxes and for gathering statistics.”

  • World Customs Organization creates Harmonized System (HS) codes to identify goods shipped worldwide
  • HS codes are six-digit standard codes that are recognized by most countries for customs and tariffs
  • Click here to search for your product’s HS code
  • Learn more about HS Codes here

What’s the difference between an HS Code and HTS Code?

  • Harmonized System (HS) Code is a six-digit code that is recognized worldwide to identify traded goods
    • EX: 09.02.10
  • Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) Code is a ten-digit code (HS Code + 4 extra identifying numbers) used by the US Customs and Border Protection
    • EX:

Here is a great article by Shopify that goes into great detail regarding the differences and the structure of each code.

Relevant Support Articles and Resources

Support Articles


  • International Trade Administration: Understanding HS Codes and the Schedule B
  • Identify your Product’s HS Code
  • Shopify: HTS Codes: Everything You Need to Know

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