New rules on Placebo Imports into the EU

Importing restrictions are introduced

Customs in the UK and elsewhere across the EU have recently introduced new Import measures for a number of tariff headings. One of these, in particular, will affect clinical trials shipments.


The heading 2106909260, which is applied to placebo where no other code is specifically applicable, will be subject to additional measures.  Heading 3824 is also sometimes used for placebo and it too will be affected. The measures are to impose anti dumping duties on imports of Acesulfame Potassium (ace-K) from the Peoples Republic of China. Regardless of where the goods come from outside the EU or, whether they contain any ace-K, all goods under headings  2106 9092, 2106 9098, 2934 9990 21, 3824 9092, 3824 9093 and 3824 9096 now require specific declarations about their content.


All goods imported under these headings will require the shipper to complete an annex 2 declaration, which you can ask your local World Courier office for assistance with. If the shipment contains ace-K from China, shippers will also need to complete their invoice declaration with comments set out in the annex 1 instructions.


This decision is based on the European Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/787 and so will affect other EU member states importing these commodities.


For further guidance on classifying placebo, please see the following link;


UPDATE NOV 2015 HMRC have announced, via an anti dumping notice, that the restrictions on certain tariff headings relating to Ace – k originating from the People’s Republic of China, have been lifted. This is all except for tariff heading 29349990021. For all the others, normal tariff restrictions apply once more.