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Import product requirements

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce | Netherlands Enterprise Agency

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 what the product requirements are

All products must be safe and suitable to use before they reach the market. Their origin must be clear. If you import goods from an EU country, they are usually approved for the Dutch market. Only in very exceptional cases can the government ban EU-approved articles. If you’re importing goods from outside the EU, customs will check if they comply with safety, health, economy and environment standards (VGEM in Dutch), as laid down in for instance the Commodities Act. These are general product requirements.

Check for specific product requirements

The EU proscribes general and specific product requirementsExternal link. Specific product requirements concern the composition, physical properties, packaging, labelling, and registration of products like textiles and cosmetics. For instance, garments must be labelled in Dutch.

Use the Trade Helpdesk The Trade Helpdesk offers information on the product requirements and import procedures for EU countries. My exportExternal link allows you to pretend you’re a non-EU-based exporter. Using the HS product code you can look up in the TARIC databaseExternal link, you can find relevant information for the product you want to import.

Find out if your product requires CE marking

Some products require CE markingExternal link. Take for instance toys and electrical household appliances. CE marking signifies that a product complies with EU laws and that it can be traded freely inside the European Economic Area (EEA, consisting of the EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). When you import products from an EEA country, the producer will take care of the CE marking.

Check for CE marking Are you importing a product that was produced outside the EEA? Then you must ensure it gets CE marking.

Do you need an import licence?

Strict rules apply to certain products. If you want to import these products, you may need an import licence or certificate. You may have to enter a register, for instance if you want to import plants, flowers, animal feed and medicine. Find out more about these special import products in the Safety, Health, Economy and Environment sectionExternal link of the Dutch customs website.

Observe the rules for packaging

Your product’s packaging must meet all kinds of requirements, too. 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.

Check product liability

Find out who is liable for damages caused by a faulty product. If the product was manufactured in the EU, the manufacturer is responsible.

Be aware of who is liable If you introduce a product from a non-EU country on the Dutch market, you as the importer are liable. You can take out product liability insurance to minimise your risk.

Check intellectual property rights

Check if intellectual property (IP) rightsExternal link apply to the product you are importing.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce
Netherlands Enterprise Agency