Proposal to Remove the Supplementary Unit

Article Date: 15 June 2009

Proposal to Remove the Supplementary Unit

Reporting Requirement for Approximately 400 Commodity (Tariff) Codes


Traders completing Customs returns for Import and Export of goods are required to provide supplementary units of quantity in addition to net mass (Kg) for specified commodity codes.


This is because some commodity codes are better described by units other than weight for statistical purposes or in other cases because there are requirements for a supplementary unit to calculate Tariff duties. This information is reported in Box 41 on the Customs Single Administrative Documents (SAD).  For example, the first Tariff code for Horses (0101 10 10) has unit requirements described in column 4 of the Tariff of Kg for the first quantity and number for the second quantity (Supplementary Unit).


The vast majority of supplementary units originate from EU legislation but historically there are a few cases where they have been introduced to meet national requirements. HMRC’s Trade Statistics unit has identified around 400 commodity codes (see List of Commodity Codes with Statistical Supplementary Units) where the supplementary units have been collected nationally for statistical purposes (rather than for Tariff purposes) and are now believed to be redundant. With the intention of reducing the burden of data reporting for businesses, HMRC ave been at aims to delete all of these statistical supplementary units as from 1 January 2010 unless users can make strong cases for retaining them on an individual commodity code basis.


This notice announces the start of a consultation exercise to determine if there is a continuing user requirement for any of these supplementary units.

If you feel you have a genuine need for the supplementary units against any of the commodity codes shown in the list to be retained, please email the contact below by 31 August 2009 with the details of your requirement.


Any continuing requirements for the data will be considered against the burden on providers before a decision on whether to retain the supplementary units for each commodity is taken.


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