Exporting goods outside the EU

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
Statistics Netherlands, CBS

If you deliver goods outside of the European Union (EU), you will have to deal with the Customs Administration of the Netherlands. You will need to use an export declaration and take product requirements abroad into account. Import duties will usually apply. On invoices, you will state the 0% VAT rate.

Declare export

You must notify the Customs Administration of the Netherlands that you are exporting goods to a country outside the EU. You do so using the export declaration (aangifte ten uitvoer).

Dutch Customs will use the commodity code to check if there are any additional conditions you have to meet. Such as an export permit. Are you inexperienced at exporting goods? Then it is advisable 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).

Use the 0% VAT rate

When you export goods to a non-EU country, you must use the 0% VAT tariff. This means you do not have to charge VAT. It makes no difference if your customer is an individual or a company. You do need to state the 0% VAT rate on your invoice.

You must be able to demonstrate that your goods have really left the EU. To that purpose, keep:

  • A copy of the freight bill
  • A copy of the export declaration
  • The transporter's invoice
  • The import certificate of the destination country

In general, you are advised to keep any documentation that can function as proof that the goods have left the EU.

Check which export documents you need

Take into account the import duties and laws of your destination country. And submit the right export documents with your export shipment. Find out in the EU Access2Markets database what documents you will need. You will find an overview per country of the relevant export documents.

You can order several export documents via KVK: the ATA Carnet, Certificate of Origin, EUR1 / EUR-MED certificate, and legalisation / certificate. See also: Export documents

Check the product requirements

Check whether your product meets the product requirements for export. You might find out that alterations to your product or packaging are needed for export outside the EU. 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, such as a different plug.

Take into account local legislation

Find out if you have to meet laws 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 per country can be found on RVO.nl (in Dutch).

Check for boycots or trade barriers

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

Tips for exporting

  1. Join a trade mission (in Dutch).
  2. Immerse yourself in the dos and don'ts of the export country (in Dutch).
  3. Use the RVO Exportwijzer (in Dutch) for information on rules, financing, and guidance.
  4. Check with the Regelhulp financiering en verzekeringen voor internationaal ondernemen (in Dutch) whether you meet the conditions for international financing or export insurance from the central government.

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