Exporting goods outside the EU

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK | Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO | Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst | Statistics Netherlands, CBS

If you trade goods outside of the European Union (EU), the free movement of goods does not apply, and you will have to deal with the Dutch Customs. You will have to use the 0% VAT rate, and use export documents.

Declare export

You must notify Customs that you are exporting goods to a country outside the EU, using the export declaration ('aangifte ten uitvoer'). Customs will check if there are any additional conditions you have to meet. Are you inexperienced at exporting goods? Then you would do well to let a forwarder or transport company take care of the customs declaration. You can find a transport company in the Netherlands via Holland Transport (in Dutch). To find a forwarder, use the Fenex website (in Dutch).

Find Customs information

On the Dutch Customs website, there is an overview of all the various authorisations, declaration methods, permits, exemptions, etc., that you may need for your export.

Use the 0% VAT-rate

When you export goods to a non-EU country, you must use the 0% VAT tariff. It makes no difference if your customer is an individual or a company. You must be able to demonstrate that your goods have really left the EU. To that purpose, keep:

  • A copy of the freight bill
  • The transporters invoice
  • The import certificate
  • All documents/forms you receive from the customs administration
  • Correspondence with your customer
In general, you are advised to keep any documentation that can function as proof that the goods have left the EU.

Find out which export documents you need

Which documents do you need to export and sell your goods in your chosen country? Find out in the EU Access2Markets database. You will find an overview per country of the relevant export documents. You can order several export documents via the Chamber of Commerce (in Dutch): the ATA Carnet, Certificate of Origin, EUR1 / EUR-MED certificate, and legalisation / certificate. See also: Export documents

Find out what the product requirements are

When exporting outside the EU, it is not unusual to meet with different product requirements, that necessitate alterations to your product or packaging. Many countries demand product information in the local language, not just on the packaging, but also on labels and in manuals. Sometimes a technical adjustment is required, like a different plug or a different colour.

Take into account local legislation

Find out if you have to fulfill legislation or regulations specific to your export country. For instance: non-EU countries often require product testing prior to approval. You can find the relevant rules and regulations in the EU Market Access Database.

Check for boycots or trade barriers

The EU Market Access Database provides information on boycots and trade barriers.

Trade agreements

When doing business with a country outside the EU, there might be a trade agreement in place. The EU has trade agreements in place with many different (groups of) countries. In general, they make trade easier and lower import duties and trade barriers. But there can be specific conditions that you need to meet in order for you or your client or supplier in that third country to benefit. Also there can agreements about product quality, intellectual property, market access or documents that are to be used. Read more about trade agreements and how you can benefit from them.

Make clear transport arrangements

Who arranges the transport, who pays for it, who is liable in case of damage, and who takes out which insurance? Use the ICC Incoterms® to make clear arrangements about the delivery terms and transport of your goods.

N.B.: The ICC Incoterms® 2020 are the most recent version of the terms. If you were already using the Incoterms® 2010, you can continue to do so. They are still valid.

Find the best payment method

Determine the best payment method for your situation. Choose one that minimises your risk.

Statistics: export of goods

Total export value of goods to non-EU countries

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst
Statistics Netherlands, CBS