The EU has free movement of goods. That means there are no customs formalities. Your customer does not have to pay import duties. The VAT rate (btw) is 0% in nearly all cases. However, always check the product requirements within the EU, and in your customer’s country. Be sure to make clear arrangements about the transport of the goods.
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Use the 0% VAT-rate
If you export to a business client in another EU country, you can use the 0% VAT rate. Your customer will pay local VAT instead of Dutch VAT. To make use of the 0% rate, you need to meet 2 qualifications:
- Check that your customer has a valid VAT number;
- Be sure you can prove the goods have been transported to the destination country, for instance with a transport bill.
Check the product requirements
Products must be safe to use before they are launched on the market. That is why you should check the EU product requirements for your product. If your product meets the European requirements, you’re free to export it to every EU member state.
The EU countries have agreed that if a product has been released on the market in one EU country, it can also be released in other EU countries. However, several countries may have additional product requirements. If that is the case, the producer or importer of the product will be notified by the authorised body in that country. Read more about what this means in the article Admission of EU products into the Netherlands (mutual recognition).
Check the local legislation
Many countries demand that you provide product information in the country’s language(s). That applies to packaging and labels, but also to user manuals. Sometimes, a technical adaptation must be made to the product. Some countries have rules to contain the amount of packaging waste. So find out what the rules and regulations (in Dutch) in your chosen destination country are.
Make clear transport arrangements
Make clear arrangements with your customer: who transports the goods? If you do it yourself, there are several options. But you could always outsource the transport to a transport company, a forwarding agent (in Dutch) or parcel service.
Tips for intra-EU transport
- Record the terms of delivery and make sure your customer is aware of your general conditions.
- Transport insurance will cover the risk of something going wrong during transport of the goods.
- Know the do’s-and-don’ts of the destination country (in Dutch) to avoid surprises.
Be aware that the United Kingdom is now officially no longer an EU member, but a so-called 'third country'. An agreement has been reached on several aspects of trade, but the details of this Brexit deal are as yet not fully known. Make sure you stay informed about the changes. For instance, you may need to use different documents to import or export goods. See the article Exporting products outside the EU. If you import or export agricultural goods, plants or use wooden packaging, you will need extra certificates and undergo inspections.
Several parties offer information on the Brexit changes:
- Brexitloket.nl is the official Dutch government Brexit website. Check it regularly for news and events.
- The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) offers Brexit information on the import and export of plants (in Dutch).
- The British government offers information on importing and exporting plants and plant products after Brexit on the Gov.uk website.
- The Netherlands Vehicle Authority RDW can help you if you import vehicles (or parts). Check out their Brexit page.
- Also, check the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration pages on customs matters.
Statistics: export of goods
Total export value of goods to EU countries