Import product requirements

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO

When you import goods, you will have to deal with product requirements. The product must meet Dutch and EU standards and regulations. Also, you will have to take into account product liability.

Find out if you may import the product

The Commodities Act states that food and other products must be safe for consumers. A product you import must also comply with safety, health, economic and environmental laws. Are you importing products from another EU country? And are they already being sold there? Then you may also sell them in the Netherlands. Occasionally, the government may ban a product from the EU.

Make sure your product is safe

Do you want to sell a consumer (non-food) product in the EU? Then it must comply with European product safety requirements. You are (jointly) responsible for making sure your product is safe. Some products must also have a CE marking. For example, on toys and electrical appliances. CE marking shows that a product meets European safety, health and environmental requirements. What you have to do for product safety and what you are responsible for depends on your role in the production chain. Read more about product safety, CE marking and defining your role.

Check for specific product requirements

The EU has described general and specific product requirements. For example, for clothes and cosmetics. Specific product requirements concern the composition, physical properties, packaging, labelling, and registration of products like textiles and cosmetics. For example: you import sportswear from Vietnam. Then you must ensure that the label is in Dutch. Product information should also always be easy to understand. Think about technical instructions.

Importing food

Do you want to import food? Then pay attention to European food safety requirements.

Check if a licence or certificate is required

Some products you are not allowed to import. Other products only if they meet certain requirements. This applies, for example, to flowers, plants, animal feed and medicines. In such cases, you often need a licence or other form of authorisation.

Observe the rules for packaging

Your product’s packaging must meet all kinds of requirements. Do you import packaged products or packaging products? Then you are responsible for containing the amount of packaging used, plus its collection and recycling. If you bring more than 50,000 kilograms of packaging material onto the Dutch market, you must pay a packaging waste management contribution.

Find out who is liable in case of damage

Where the product comes from determines who is liable for damages:

  • The product comes from a country within the European Economic Area (EEA. All EU countries and of Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway): The manufacturer is liable.
  • The product comes from outside the EEA: You, as the importer, are liable. You can take out product liability insurance. This is often part of business liability insurance.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK