International Family of Classifications

Central Product Classification (CPC) Version 2.1

Basic Bibliographic Information

To Be Determined
Central Product Classification Version 2.1, Series M: Miscellaneous Statistical Papers, No. 77 Ver. 2.1, New York: United Nations. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/77/VER.2.1
United Nations Statistics Division
Available Formats:
HTML, PDF, Access, Text
Year Adopted:
Year Published:
Available Languages (besides English):
Fully available only in English.

Purpose of the Classification

Statistical Domains:
2 Economic statistics
CPC constitutes a comprehensive classification of all goods and services. CPC presents categories for all products that can be the object of domestic or international transactions or that can be entered into stocks. It includes products that are an output of economic activity, including transportable goods, non-transportable goods and services. CPC, as a standard central product classification, was developed to serve as an instrument for assembling and tabulating all kinds of statistics requiring product detail. Such statistics may cover production, intermediate and final consumption, capital formation, foreign trade or prices. They may refer to commodity flows, stocks or balances and may be compiled in the context of input/output tables, balance of payments and other analytical presentations. The CPC classifies products based on the physical characteristics of goods or on the nature of the services rendered. CPC was developed primarily to enhance harmonization among various fields of economic and related statistics and to strengthen the role of national accounts as an instrument for the coordination of economic statistics. It provides a basis for recompiling basic statistics from their original classifications into a standard classification for analytical use.
Main Applications:
Main Users:


Concept Being Classified:
goods, services
Statistical Units:
Products (Goods, services)
Main Principles:
Relationships to Other International Classifications:
Related To:
Major Differences (Scope, Structure, and Concepts):
With regard to transportable goods, a very close relationship exists between the Central Product Classification and the Harmonized System, as CPC subclasses in sections 0 to 4 generally constitute groupings and rearrangements of complete categories of the Harmonized System. As a result, a total of 1,617 CPC subclasses have been defined, using over 5,000 headings and subheadings of the 2012 Harmonized System as building blocks.
The Central Product Classification and the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities are both general-purpose classifications, with the ISIC representing the activity side of these two interrelated United Nations classifications. Each subclass of the CPC consists of goods or services that are generally produced in a specific class or classes of the ISIC, Rev.4.

Classification Structure

Definition of Structure:
Level Name:
Code Format:
Number of Items:
Level 1
10 items
Level 2
71 items
Level 3
329 items
Level 4
1299 items
Level 5
2887 Items

Revision Information

Chronology of revisions/versions of the classification:
Year Adopted:
Title or Version Number:
Official Adopting Entity:
UN Statistical Commission
Coordinating Entity:
Expert Group on International Statistical Classifications
Reason for Latest Revision:
At the core of the revision process were several objectives, namely (a) to reflect in the CPC newly emerging products or products that better reflect changing production patterns; (b) to reflect outputs of newly defined industries of ISIC Revision 4; (c) to take into account the changes in the 2012 edition of the Harmonized Commodity Coding and Description System (HS); (d) to review the product detail necessary for statistics on agriculture, ICT and information products and (e) to review the conceptual basis of CPC, including issues concerning the scope of the classification and the definition of and distinction between goods and services.
Major Changes:
The revision process for the CPC Version 2 was strongly tied to the process for the fourth revision of ISIC. The Ver. 2.1 update of CPC was restricted to some areas of the goods part of the CPC only and involved only rearrangements or subdivisions at the lower levels (class, subclass) of the classification. Apart from changes introduced to reflect new emerging products or reflect changes in the Harmonized System, products corresponding better to newly defined ISIC industries have been created: * In collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), significant detail has been added in CPC Ver.2 in sections 0 and 2, related to agricultural and food products, fertilizers and agricultural machinery. Also fishery products in division 04 and frest products in divisions 03 and 31 have been updated. * New detail has been introduced in the CPC for information products, such as books, software and audio and video tapes. The product detail available in the HS was considered as not sufficient for statistics on these important elements of modern production. Therefore the subclasses in the CPC are more detailed than HS subheadings. * The terminology – and to some extent the definitions – for energy products has been changed in CPC Ver.2.1 to bring the CPC more in line with the detail required and terminology used in energy statistics. * The previous structure of transportation services in the CPC, which was primarily based on mode of transport, has been completely revised. CPC Version 2 groups transportation services first by passenger versus freight transport, then by local vs. long-distance transport and finally by mode of transport. * The detail of the divisions covering financial and related services, research and development services, human health and social care services, waste collection, treatment and disposal services, and services of membership organizations has been increased. * The previous division 53 for “Constructions”, which was shown in an annex to CPC Version 1.1, has been incorporated in the regular structure of the CPC. Together with division 54 (“Construction services”) this describes all outputs of construction activities, whether on own account (producing a good) or on a fee or contract basis (providing a service). * Starting with the CPC Ver.2, the originals of intellectual property products have been considered as products and separate categories have been assigned to them in the classification. The previously existing categories for the leasing of the right to use these products still exist, but in addition it is now possible to use the CPC to record the production and/or outright sale of such products.

Supporting Documents

Coding Index Available:
Correspondence with Previous Versions:
Correspondence Table:
Training Materials and Other Documents:

Contact Information

Agency / Office:
United Nations Statistics Division
Economic Statistics Branch
Contact Name:
Classifications Hotline
+1 917 367 0135
United Nations Statistics Division DC-2 15th Floor 2 UN Plaza New York, NY 10017