Country Code Prefix
What is a country code prefix, and what does it mean?
Country code prefixes are numbers associated with different GS1 companies around the world. Barcodes beginning with specifically assigned country codes come directly from the GS1 company in a specific country OR are issued by an official standards agency in that country.
However this does not mean the product is from that country. It only means that the barcode was issued from the GS1 company in that country. There are no origin checks. Hence countries such as Australia now label food products to clarify how much is imported or Australian. This is much more accurate.
“GS1 Prefix does not indicate that the product was manufactured in a specific country or by a specific manufacturer; it may have been produced anywhere in the world.”
(Please read https://xchange.gs1.org/sites/faq/Pages/does-the-gs1prefix-first-2-or-3-digits-of-the-ean-13-barcode-number-show-the-country-of-origin.aspx)
In countries where GS1 exists, the ONLY legal way to get to start with these assigned country codes is to join GS1. This means completing their membership forms and paying a joining fee. Then you pay annual membership fees to GS1 every year for the rest of your product life.
See this article by Peter Strong (head of the Council of Small Business of Australia) on ‘shadow regulators’. These are not for profit organisations that have monopolistic control over the business community.
In countries where there is a non-GS1 Standards Body, the country-specific numbers can be obtained from that body, or the International Barcodes Network company in that country.
Country of origin of the product
If you want to demonstrate that your product is made in your own country, e.g., Hong Kong, then the best way to do this is to print “Made in Hong Kong” or similar on the product. This is an advertising claim and must be provable if challenged. Some manufacturers also print “Made in Hong Kong” directly above the barcode.
The myth of the barcode number showing the country of origin of the product is an old myth that has been thoroughly debunked. Please see this Snopes article.
All barcodes and barcode systems are designed for international use. There are virtually no restrictions based on the country of origin worldwide. Any specific examples of stores placing any type of restrictions on barcodes can be seen here.
HK Barcodes is a member of the international network of barcode sellers. The Network has customers in more than 120 countries using our barcodes.
Country Code Prefixes
Here is a list of country codes from GS1 organisations and other Standards Agencies around the world:
|0||USA / Canada|
|30–37||France & Monaco|
|387||Bosnia & Herzegovina|
|54||Belgium & Luxembourg|
|629||United Arab Emirates|
|660||Benin – issued by ANM Benin|
|760–769||Schwitzerland & Liechtenstein|
|96||GS1 Global Office: GTIN-8 allocations|
|977||Serial Publications (ISSN)|
|980||Return Coupons (refund receipts)|
|981–983||Common Currency Coupons|