Netherlands flag Netherlands: Buying and Selling

International convention and customs procedures of the Netherlands

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
The Netherlands is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Union, ICC, WTO, G-10, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the Netherlands click here. International organisation membership of the Netherlands is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
As a member of the European Union, the Netherlands complies with all EU regulations. While the EU has a rather liberal foreign trade policy, there is a certain number of restrictions, especially on farm products, following the creation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).  The CAP compensates the import and export costs of farm products in order to favour the development of agriculture within the EU. The EU also controls a certain level of trade within its borders. For example, the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in products must be specified on all packaging for safety purposes and the import of beef injected with articifical hormones is prohibited. Moreover, the "mad cow crisis" in the 1990s prompted the European Authorities to strengthen the sanitation requirements of all meat products entering and circulating in the EU territory. These precautionary measures also require evidence of compliance. If there is any uncertainty about an important, it is denied entry into the EU until proof of compliance is produced.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Import duty and taxes are due for goods imported to the Netherlands from outside of the European Union- whether by a private individual or a corporate entity. The Netherlands is party to the European Union’s Common Customs Tariff, therefore preferential rates apply to imports from countries which the EU has signed agreements with. Duties range from 0-17%, with the general tariff averaging 4.2%. However, foodstuffs, textiles and clothing still experience some protection measures (quotas, higher tariffs, etc.). Some imports are subject to anti-dumping duties.
Customs Classification
Harmonised custom system.
Import Procedures
The official model for written declarations to customs is the Single Administrative Document (SAD). The SAD serves as the EU importer's declaration.  It encompasses both customs duties and VAT and is valid in all EU Member States.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls- the "Import Control System" (ICS)- which aim to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Programme eCustoms, has been in effect since 1 January 2011. Since then, operators are required to fill out an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

Non-agricultural goods entering EU territory must adhere to customs formalities (ENS). This declaration must be carried out by the person bringing the goods to the territory. The Summary Declaration can be made electronically or on a form provided by the customs authorities. The deadline for lodging the ENS depends on the mode of transport carrying the goods.

Since July 1, 2009, all companies established outside of the EU are required to have an EORI number if they wish to lodge a customs declaration or an Entry/Exit Summary declaration. Once a company has received an EORI number, it can use it for exports to any of the 27 EU Member States.
Goods in transit only need a single EU transit document.

Customs duties are the same for all EU member states. VAT, on the other hand, is established by the tax authorities of each member country, and differs for each country.

Below is a summary of VAT rates that apply in the Netherlands:

  • Zero percent rate applies to exports;
  • 9% rate applies to necessities such as food, medicines, and transportation;
  • 21% is the general or standard rate and applies to most goods.

VAT is levied at the same rate for imports into the Netherlands as for domestic products or transactions.  The basis on which VAT is charged on imports is the C.I.F. value at the port of entry, plus any duty, excise taxes, levies, or other charges (excluding the VAT) collected by Dutch Customs at the time of importation.  This total represents the transaction value of the import when it clears customs. Dutch importers are liable for payment of customs duties, VAT, and any other charges at the time of clearing the goods through customs. Temporary imports that will be re-exported are not subject to the VAT.  An importer may have to post a temporary bond for the amount of customs duties and taxes, but this is cancelled when the goods are taken out of the country.

Additional information about import procedures can be found on the European Commission website.
The Dutch Customs website also provides necessary information regarding the customs clearance procedure.

Importing Samples
For the import, export and re-export of commercial samples the ATA (Temporary Admission) carnet can be used. It must be written on the product that it is a free sample and that it may not be sold.

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
European Taxation and Customs
Dutch Custom Procedure
Dutch Customs
Netherlands Trade Portal

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Latest Update: July 2024