27.9.        History of the Central Product Classification. The Central Product Classification (CPC) originated from initiatives in the early 1970s to harmonize international classifications. The new classification was intended to cover both goods and services (products) and would use the subheadings of the Harmonized System as building blocks for the part dealing with transportable goods. 

27.10.    The final draft of CPC, called the provisional Central Product Classification, was approved by the Statistical Commission and recommended for use by member States at its twenty-fifth session in February 1989.[6] The Provisional Central Product Classification[7] was published in 1991. Since then, there have been several revisions of CPC and in 2008 CPC, Version 2.0, was completed. The Statistical Commission had adopted its structure at its thirty-seventh session in March 2006.[8] This version of CPC is divided into 10 sections, 71 divisions, 324 groups, 1,267 classes and 2,738 subclasses.  Sections 0 to 4 are based on HS07,[9] and aggregate the HS codes into product categories suitable for various types of economic analysis within the national accounts framework.  Sections 0-4 of the Classification, like SITC,  provides for the rearrangement of HS-based international merchandise trade statistics for analytical purposes.  Sections 5 to 9 of CPC, Version 2.0, go beyond the HS categories to provide a classification of service products. 

27.11.    National practices in use of CPC. Only a minority of countries currently publish trade data in terms of CPC (11 per cent of developed and 8 per cent of developing countries). However, more countries are able to make such data available electronically. As in the case of SITC, the expression of trade data in terms of CPC does not require significant resources and can be effected using appropriate conversion tables. It is advised that the country’s agency responsible for the dissemination of trade statistics make efforts to provide users with the data expressed in terms of CPC. Such data will significantly facilitate the use of trade statistics in economic analysis, including in the assessment of the impact of external trade on the consumption and production patterns in a country and in the compilation of a country’s national accounts. 

27.12.    International practices in the use of CPC. The analytical value of CPC is being recognized more and more by international organizations. For example, the statistical Classification of Products by Activity (CPA) was created at the level of the European Union (EU) by assigning CPC products to one single activity category. CPA is a product classification whose elements are related to activities as defined by NACE, Rev. 2. Each product - be it a transportable or non-transportable good or a service - is assigned to one single NACE, Rev. 2, activity. The linkage to activities as defined by NACE, Rev. 2, gives the CPA a structure parallel to that of NACE Rev. 2 at all levels distinguished by NACE Rev. 2. However, the detailed linkage between products and activities could be established only to a certain degree. There are nevertheless cases where products can be assigned to activities only at a higher level than the class level or even where a class in CPA 2008 has no activity counterpart in NACE Rev. 2.[10]


[6] See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1989, Supplement No. 3 (E/1989/21), chap. V, para. 95 (b) and (f).

[7] Provisional Central Product Classification, Statistical Papers Series M, No. 77 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.91.XVII.7).

[8] Ibid., 2006, Supplement No. 4 (E/2006/24), chap. I, sect. C, decision 37/105.

[9] The correspondences between HS07 and CPC, Version 2.0 can be accessed at the United Nations Statistics Division website at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/class.

[10] A detailed description of CPA is available from  http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/cpa_2008/