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International trade: agriculture, fisheries, and foodstuffs

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, NVWANetherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, NVWA

Do you export or import foodstuffs, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, or live animals? When you import or export outside the EU, you have to deal with certificates and permits, checks, and customs formalities.

Importing live animals and animal products from outside the EU

The following information applies to the import of:

  • live animals and live products (semen, embryos, and hatching eggs)
  • products of animal origin (meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and animal by-products)
  • animal feed
  • hay and straw. Read more about hay and straw (in Dutch)

Importers in the Netherlands must consider:

1. Certification: the exporter must have the cargo certified

Every import shipment must be accompanied by health certificates. The exporter applies for the health certificates.

2. Pre-notification: the import shipment must be pre-notified

Import from must be pre-notified with a designated border control post. This can done by the exporter, the importer or a customs agent. For more information, please contact the trade association FENEX (in Dutch).

3. Import inspection: the NVWA carries out an import inspection

If you import animals or animal products, they must enter the EU through an approved Border Control Post (BCP). NVWA will check the animals (products) and necessary documents upon arrival. They do this in cooperation with Dutch Customs. They also check if the goods are suitable for the purpose for which they are imported. For example, is the product suitable for consumption? Samples can also be taken here. The physical check may only take place at a BCP.

Exporting plants and plant products

Do you want to export plant products outside of the EU? You have to deal with phytosanitary export certificates and government checks. Also, different rules apply for products, product labelling or product packaging when exporting to a non-EU country.

Exporting foodstuffs and agricultural products

When exporting agricultural products, vegetables, fruit, meat, and live animals outside of the EU, you need to have an export certificate, among other things. If you do not have experience with trading outside the EU, start preparing well ahead. To find out what import requirements are put in place by the receiving, check the Access2Markets database. Find out more about export documentation on KVK.

Agricultural inspection and certifying authorities in the Netherlands

Sector organisations in the Netherlands

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