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EU HS codes: Are you ready for the 2023 shipping regulation changes?


Written by David Renwick

For retailers, shipping internationally is one of the best ways to access entirely new markets and unlock new growth opportunities. But there are important changes coming which may impact your business. Read on to learn more.

Starting from October 2023, a crucial shift in EU shipping regulations will come into effect, reshaping the way goods are transported from Australia to the EU member states, including the United Kingdom, Norway, and Switzerland.

plane at airport with vehicles spaced around at sunset

What's at the heart of these changes? It all boils down to a single, but crucial requirement: pre-approval from EU customs. Now, before your shipment leaves Australian shores, you’ll need to have your paperwork in order, including specific data such as the receiver's postcode and the EU HS tariff code.

This shift might seem daunting. But fear not – we're here to guide you through this change. We'll not only break down the intricacies of these changes but also provide practical solutions to help make sure your business remains compliant, efficient, and penalty-free.

Note: Want to learn more about HS codes? Check out our informative guide here.

The EU shipping regulation changes on 2 October


All shipments to the EU will require pre-approval from EU customs before the shipment leaves Australia. The pre-approval data needs to include the receiver's postcode as well as the HS tariff code.


From 2 October, 2023.


This change applies to all shipments sent to all member states, including the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland. If you ship to the EU, this change applies to you.

Note: Australia Post will start validating that all data is correct and included when you generate your labels. If you don’t include the information, you’ll get errors when printing labels for orders heading to the EU.

What happens if I use the wrong EU HS code?

Depending on several factors, including the severity of the error and the regulations in your country using the wrong EU HS code could have consequences for your business.

  • Fines and penalties – One of the most immediate consequences is that you may end up paying incorrect import duties, taxes, and fees. If the HS code you use results in a lower duty rate than what should apply, you may be underpaying customs duties, which can lead to fines and penalties.
  • Delays – You could also see delays in the customs clearance process. Customs authorities may question the classification, request additional documentation, or even perform inspections, all of which can lead to delays in the release of your goods.

Prepare for EU tariff code changes with Starshipit

With these changes imminent, you’re likely wondering how you can meet the requirements without disrupting your business. It’s easy with a shipping automation platform like Starshipit. This automation not only ensures accurate and compliant customs declarations but also streamlines the shipping workflow, saving time and reducing the risk of errors. Ultimately, this makes for a smoother cross-border shipping experience for both retailers and their customers.

Starshipit automatically imports HS codes from many platforms. You can learn about this feature in our guide. If you’ve already set this up, you won’t need to do anything.

You can also use Starshipit’s Product Catalogue to add HS tariff codes to your products, automatically ensuring the destination customs authority receives this information before your item arrives.

Here’s how it works:

  • In your Starshipit account, go to Settings.
  • Select Product Catalogue from the left menu.
  • Download the CSV template.
  • Add your products and their HS codes to the CSV template.
  • Click Import CSV.
  • Click Select and choose the CSV file from your computer.
  • Click Upload.

Check out the guide on the Starshipit Knowledge Base to learn more about the Product Catalogue.

Note: The European Customs Portal contains a comprehensive EU HS code list which you can bookmark for your reference too.

Wrap up

And that’s the changes in a nutshell! As you can see, if you ship to the EU, it’s important to prepare now so you’re ready to go when the 2 October changes go live. Failing to adhere to the EU HS code requirements could end up costing you.

Check out the guides we’ve mentioned in the article, or if you’re ready to experience them for yourself, start a 30-day free trial. Starshipit is the most reliable tool for managing EU HS codes. Happy (EU) shipping!

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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