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If you import or export products into or from the Netherlands, you will need to find out the HS code for your products, so that you will know which product requirements apply, and which amount of import duty and VAT is due.
The HS (Harmonised System) or product code is used by customs officers worldwide to categorise products. It consists of several digits or numbers, the first 6 of which are harmonised across the world: so, no matter where you product comes from, the main product category will be the same worldwide. When it comes to subcategories, however, there may be differences from one country to another. Take that into account, when your foreign supplier sends you a product code. Do you want to find out the product code yourself? Go to the TARIC goods nomenclature database on the Dutch customs website. Switch the language to English in the top right hand corner, as well as in the form field, and press Search. The page lists all product codes (goods nomenclature).
How do I know which product code is right?
Finding out which product code to use can be quite difficult. Many products are not listed literally in the goods nomenclature. For instance: a computer is classified under 'automatic data processing machines'. Here are a few links to help you determine the right product code:
- The goods nomenclature classification rules.
- EU factsheets to simplify classification of several product groups (among others, textiles, footwear, edible vegetable roots, edible fruit and nuts, plastics, and computers).
- The European Binding Tariff Information database lists the outcomes of EU-states customs consultations on the classification of goods (European Binding Tariff Information Consultations).
When do you ask for specialist help?
If your product code is easy to find in the goods nomenclature database, you won’t need help. Find specialist help when:
- You don’t have enough knowledge or experience to determine the right product code;
- You do not fully understand the classification rules, even with the explanation provided;
- Your products are in the high-risk category (chemicals, products on which high import, agricultural or anti-dump duties are levied, dual-use goods, strategic goods).
An EBTI is valid for 3 years after its issue date, across the European Union. The correct product code tells you which product requirements apply, as well as how much import duties and taxes you or your customer is due to pay.
Do you import goods from outside the EU? In some cases, you pay less import duty or none at all (for instance, if a trade agreement exists between your import country and the Netherlands – see https://business.gov.nl/running-your-business/international-business/import/importing-products-from-a-non-eu-country/).
Be aware that Dutch customs sometimes investigates if the product code used is the correct one. If your product code turns out to be wrong, customs may charge you tax arrears (for up to 3 years).