Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV)

This classification system is used to create automatic translations of tenders across the EU. It is based on a hierarchy of what products are made from; the code is eight digits, plus a check digit, to provide an electronic check of the code when transmitted. This code should be added to every tender placed in electronic EU Official Journal ‘Tenders Electronic Daily’ (TED). All public departments must advertise tenders on TED that are above the current threshold and add the CPV code to their tenders.


There are 9453 CPV codes, which can be downloaded free of charge (in Excel format) from the SIMAP website


  • Enables electronic translation of tenders, saving millions on paper costs
  • Free to download
  • Headings do not change very often, last change 2008


  • Heading level only, no item level codes or standardized descriptions
  • Hierarchy not considered suitable for analysis information
  • Codes can be difficult to find and use
  • Inflexible, missing headings cannot be added
  • Cannot be used to collaborate on procurement or share information other than at a very high level
  • Cannot be applied uniformly or quality assured