Shipping & Mail Forwarding to the Netherlands

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GENERAL IMPORT CLEARANCE INFORMATION

Clearance Process
The broker performing the clearance generally completes customs clearance electronically. Entry information is sent to the central customs computer. There are several types used for clearance in the Netherlands. The specific entry requirement is based on the shipment value, approved use, commodity type, and licensing or other controls as well as the reason for importation. General Import Entry Types

  • High value clearance (Duty / VAT paid if applicable)
  • Low Value clearance (Exemption Duty / VAT requested)
  • T1 (Transfer cargo not cleared to bonded warehouse)
  • Simplified procedure (Licensed consignee will perform clearance themselves)
  • Consignee has to provide clearance documents themselves (NATO 302 form, D39 Embassy goods etc.)
  • CARNET Shipments: FedEx does not handle Carnets shipments under its FedEx Express International Priority Services
When entry information is sent to the central customs computer, the computer will process the input data and send back a response to the agent assigning the shipment a color code. The color code is important as it determines how long it will take for the shipment to clear. The three possible color codes are white, green or red. Shipments selected red will require formal examination of the documentation by a customs officer prior to release being granted. Additionally, a physical examination of the contents of the shipment may also be required. White and green is an approval for the release of goods. The difference between white and green is only of importance for the clearance agent himself.
(Exception: COD shipments selected green or red cannot be released until changed by customs to white).

The following is a general guide to when each entry type may be used:

Low value imports and documents valued up to 22 Euro except for commodities subject to excise duty such as tobacco products, commodities having an alcohol or spirit content, hydrocarbon oils, etc. or commodities for which special regulations apply as prohibited items, medicines, CITES, phytosanitary, etc. or goods where low value is stated but do not represent a fair market value.

High value goods valued from 22 Euro upwards. Note: High value shipments, which need to be cleared temporarily into the Netherlands, will be handed through another broker other than FedEx for further handling unless the consignee has an ongoing license for temporary import. Temporary import and reason for import should be stated on the invoice. If the costs for temporary clearance are higher than duties and vat levied, FedEx will clear the shipment with payment of duties and VAT.

Returned goods. Goods returned to the Netherlands after exhibition, repair etc. may be cleared without payment of duties and VAT. The Air Waybill and invoice should state clearly that the shipment is returned after exhibition, repair etc. The consignee will be contacted, as the original export documentation is needed for clearance. Delays are possible. The invoice should state serial numbers, model numbers, etc. in order that identification of the goods that were previously exported can be completed without physically examining the goods.

T1 shipments/Transit goods are shipments that need to be transferred to a bonded warehouse without having been cleared (i.e. no payment of duty and VAT). Those shipments can only be transferred to a bonded warehouse if the consignee has notified the broker that they have a bonded warehouse and the consignee has sent a copy of their bonded warehouse license to the broker. Some goods cannot be transported with a T1 (e.g. Excise goods, etc.).

Special clearance process for licensed consignees. A few licensed consignees can use a simplified procedure. It enables them to receive the goods quickly without any customs delays. The consignee himself completes clearance.



Document Requirements
Bill of Lading/Air Waybill


A bill of lading or Airway bill is always required and should bear the name of the party to be notified. A bill of lading/air waybill customarily shows the name of the shipper, the name and address of the consignee, port of destination, description of goods, the listing of the freight and other charges, the number of bills of lading in the full set, and the date and the signature of the carrier's officia acknowledging receipt on board of the goods for shipment. The information should correspond with that shown on the invoice and the packages.

Certificates of Origin


Certificates of Origin are required for a small number of goods such as textile products. Exceptions include mutilated samples, used personal effects or gifts with a fair market value less than 300 Euro. The need for a certificate of origin should be ascertained directly from the importer or the appropriate customs authority. A certificate of origin may also be stipulated in letter of credit terms or be requested by the importer. When required, two copies are necessary on a general form.¬ Customs authorities also accept certificates issued by authorized local chambers of commerce or boards of trade.

Commercial Invoices


Invoices are required for all shipments. Invoices should show freight, insurance, value of the goods, name of consignee, correct address, phone- and/or fax number, a clear description of the goods, (if possible the harmonized code), Incoterm. In case of returned goods, a statement that this concerns return after (fill in reason) and serial numbers and model numbers. In the case of goods for temporary import, a statement should be included that this concerns temporary import (fill in a reason), and serial numbers and model numbers should also be included.

Dangerous Goods Certification


Some goods will, in addition to the standard documentation noted above, require DG certification. IE: Chemicals, etc.

VI1


This document is needed for wine; grape juice must be in shipments of a quantity of more than 60 liters.

Phytosanitary


Sanitary certificates from the appropriate agencies in the exporting country are required¬ for the import of plants and plant products, as well as animals and animal products, and wood.

Preferential Agreement Documentation


These are certificates that certify the origin of the manufacturing country. In some cases this form will entitle the importer to an exemption or reduced rate of duty. These certificates are commodity specific as well as country specific and can only be accepted and honored for goods that meet all criteria as outlined by the preference agreements in force.

Licenses


In some cases licenses are needed prior to import, this is commodity and/or country specific. (E.g. steel license, textile license, precursor license etc.)

All documents presented for use in customs clearance processing should be prepared in English, to avoid delays and expedite clearance processing.

Printed Matter


Printed matter in a small quantity (FedEx envelope) needs an Air Waybill only. Printed matter given away for free during exhibitions, tradeshows, congress, etc. can be imported in larger quantities but an Air Waybill and commercial invoice will be needed. A specific description of the goods should be provided on the invoice. Additionally, the description should state that the contents are printed matter which is being given away for free and the name and address of the convention, trade show, congress etc. The printed matter should not exceed 20 kg per shipment.

Goods Consigned for Exhibition/Tradeshow/Congress


Small shipments of goods that will be used/consumed during a congress, exhibition, etc. may be imported Duty/VAT free if it contains a reasonable quantity of goods needed for building up the stand. For instance, some printed matter, office materials, free items in small quantities can be imported and entered duty and VAT free. The commercial invoice should state that the shipment contains exhibition goods to be given away and should specify the contents and mention the name and address of the convention. Some congress centers in the Netherlands have their own clearance facilities. In which case FedEx might transport the goods not cleared to the congress center for further handling. For additional information regarding T1, please see "Import Clearance Process" in this profile.
Large items (e.g. complete stands with typically of a high value) do not qualify for this exemption and will need to be imported temporarily if the importer does not want to pay the duty/VAT charges.
Note: FedEx will not handle temporary import shipments for those importers who do not have an ongoing license for temporary goods. A non-FedEx broker must handle Temporary Import shipments. The exhibitor / importer must make prior arrangements with a local broker to avoid lengthy customs delays. In the event that the total amount of duties and VAT levied by customs are less than the costs for clearance, FedEx may clear the shipment with payment of duty and VAT.

Country of Origin Marking


Marking of all goods consigned for consumption into the Netherlands (EU) commerce must be legible. This means it must be of an adequate size, and clear enough, to be read easily by a person of normal vision. The article should be marked as permanently as the nature of the product will permit. However, any reasonable method of marking that will accomplish the purpose of the law is acceptable. Markings that do not remain on the article during handling will be considered an improper marking. The best form of marking is one which becomes a part of the article itself, such as branding, stenciling, stamping, printing, molding and similar methods. Other forms of marking will be acceptable if it is certain that the marking used will remain on the article, and will remain legible and conspicuous, until the article reaches the ultimate purchaser in the Netherlands. It is important that this marking withstand handling. This means it must be of a type that can be defaced, destroyed, removed, altered, obliterated, or obscured only by a deliberate act. When tags are used, they must be attached in a conspicuous place and in a manner, which assures that, unless deliberately removed, they will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.

Marking of Goods


Machines, personal protection goods, electronic goods, medical products and toys must bear the appropriate CE marking. These goods placed for sale or use in the Netherlands (EU) must meet certain safety regulations and must bear the appropriate CE marking.

Awards


Awards (e.g. from companies to employees) may be exempted from duty and VAT if the awards are clearly awards (e.g. video cameras are not accepted as an award) and personalized (e.g. engraving of the name of the recipient). The Commercial Invoice should have a statement identifying the goods as awards. A sample of the text statement is available in the GTM Global Trade Manager Document Library for your review.

Temporary Imports: Including Repaired Articles or Articles for Repair


Articles consigned for Temporary Import, goods for exhibition, goods for repair, goods for incorporation into other articles and goods imported for further processing and re-export are acceptable for importation into the Netherlands. These articles require special processing and customs clearance, which must be handled by a non-FedEx broker. Clearance delays could be experienced on entries lodged for these type shipments. Shipments of these type goods can also be consigned as ATA (Airport to Airport) shipments and designated for handling by an approved local clearance agent or forwarder. Prior arrangements with a local agent are strongly recommended to avoid lengthy customs delays.

In addition to goods imported temporarily, exemptions of duty and VAT may also apply to the following issues. Some of them require a license prior to import. The following is a non-exhaustive list of items that may qualify for duty and VAT exemptions:

  • Wedding gifts
  • Goods obtained via inheritance
  • Pharmaceutical goods for international sports events
  • Printed matter especially made for the blind
  • Objects especially made for the blind or handicapped and imported by them for personal use
  • Goods for non-profit organization dealing with charitable issues
  • Objects made especially for the blind or disabled and imported by licensed organizations
  • Goods for the sake of victims of disasters
  • Exhibition goods: Giveaways / stand building material etc.
  • Printed matter designed specifically to promote or be used for tourist purposes
¬

ATA Carnets


FedEx Express International Priority Service does not handle shipments accompanied by an ATA Carnet as they require special customs clearance and processing that is not available under standard FedEx Clearance processing for the Netherlands. Shipments traveling under ATA Carnets can be handled only via ATA (airport to airport) services and will require that a local clearance agent or broker handle the clearance.

Aircraft Parts

A copy of hte Airworthiness Certificate is required for pre-clearance. The copy must be scanned into Genesis to avoid clearance delays¬ and opening of shipments to obtain copy of the original.

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Customs Valuation
Duties are assessed on a CIF basis. Members of the European Union adhere to Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade concerning customs valuation. There are five methods for the determination of customs valuation in descending order of application. The first states that customs valuation is the transaction value, i.e., the price that is actually paid or payable for the goods by foreign importers, plus certain costs and expenses; for the transaction value to be acceptable, certain conditions must be met, notably that the buyer and seller be unrelated. If the first method is rejected by Customs, other means may be adopted to establish customs value as follows: transaction value of identical goods; transaction value of similar goods; deductive method, i.e., the resale price, less such costs as customs duties, taxes, and commissions; and computed value, utilizing costs of production, profit, and other expenses. The agreement further provides for customs valuation based on either FOB or CIF value. Other areas are covered, such as rapidity of clearance of goods, currency convertibility, appeal privileges and rights, and publication of laws and regulations. A rough guide to assist in calculating import duties and VAT follows. These examples apply to most commodities tendered for clearance for consumption entry into the Netherlands. Since the assessment of duty and related taxes varies by commodity, country of origin, preference agreements and in some cases the actual manufacturer of the goods; note that this information is offered as a general example of how duty may be assessed.

Import duties are generally calculated and assessed as follows:
Invoice value of the goods + Transport (insurance/ freight) costs x duty percentage = Import duties

VAT (value added tax) is assessed as follows:
Invoice value of the goods + Transport cost + import duties x 19% (highest VAT rate) = VAT

Note that each commodity has its own specific import duty percentage as defined by the Tariff used by Dutch Customs and that some commodities can be exempt from duty.



Import Duties
All merchandise coming into the Netherlands must clear Customs and is subject to customs duty assessment unless the goods are duty or tax exempt by law. Customs duties are, generally, an ad valorem rate (a percentage), which is applied to the transaction value (EU Euro) of the imported goods based on the cost of the goods, insurance, and freight charges. Some articles, however, are dutiable at a specific rate of duty (so much per piece, liter, kilo etc.) and others at a compound rate (combination of both ad valorem and specific rates). The dutiable value of merchandise is determined by the EU Customs code. Several appraisal methods are used to arrive at this value. Generally, the transaction value of the merchandise serves as a basis of appraisal. Transaction value is the price the buyer actually pays the seller for the goods sold and being imported. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of European Union prescribes the rates of duty and classification of merchandise by the type of product; i.e. animal and vegetable products, textile fibers and textile products. The tariff schedule provides several rates of duty for each item. Below is a summary of the new rules for EU deminimis value that enter into effect December 1, 2008:

  • A commercial shipment below 22 Euros: no duty and no VAT collected.
  • A commercial shipment between 22 Euros and 150 Euros: no duty but VAT is collected.
  • A commercial shipment over 150 Euros: duty and VAT are collected.
Additional Taxes and Fees

Countervailing
Countervailing duties are assessed to counter the effects of subsidies provided by a foreign government for merchandise exported to the Netherlands resulting in artificially low prices that are detrimental to the Netherlands and other European Union member states' industries.

Watch Duty Rate
Watches imported into Netherlands are subject to classification and duty assessment based on a per item basis. The actual duty and the final rate of duty are determined based on the classification of the watch at the time of entry processing with customs.



Antidumping
Under strict enforcement of unfair trade laws, Customs will assess antidumping duties or countervailing duties. Antidumping duties are assessed on imported merchandise sold in the Netherlands (EU) at less than the normal price of goods in the manufacturer's home market (also called fair market value). The amount of the antidumping duty assessed will be determined based on the margin of dumping measured when the following factors are considered: (1) the export price compared to the comparable prevailing price for an identical or similar product destined for consumption in the country of origin from which it was exported (2) if there are no sales of identical or similar products in the ordinary course of trade in the exporter's domestic market or if there is no valid basis for comparison of such sales due to the particular market situation, the export price compared with (a) the comparable priced of the like product exported to a third country -¬ such price being the highest export price, nevertheless a representative one or (b) the cost of production in the country of origin plus reasonable amounts for administration, selling, other costs, and profits; and (3) when there is not export price or the export priced is unreliable, e.g., as that of a manufacturer¬ supplying a subsidiary, it may be constructed on the basis of the price at which the imported product is resold the first time to an independent buyer, or if not resold to an independent buyer or not resold in the state in which it was imported, on any reasonable basis.

A written complaint may be submitted by an individual or company threatened or injured by dumping either to authorities in the Netherlands or directly to the EU Commission, which will initially review the complaint for completeness and substantiation. If the Commission is satisfied that sufficient grounds exist, it will initiate further investigation, the Commission will issue antidumping measures deemed to be necessary. The Commission is required to notify the parties concerned and publish its findings in the EU's official journal.



Excise Duties
Excise taxes are accessed against certain commodities, which are normally identified as "luxury" goods. The excise tax is normally assessed against beer, spirits, wine and sparkling beverages, sugar and products containing sugar, tobacco products, soft drinks and petroleum products. Most excise taxes are levied on a specific basis, and the rates are the same for imported and domestic goods.

There is a Fuel tax on coal, natural gas, blast furnace gas, coke gas, coal gas and mineral oils such as petrol, diesel fuel, heating gas oil, and heavy fuel oil. The tax on mineral oils is levied with the excise duty on mineral oils. The tax on the other commodities is levied on persons who extract, produce, or import them and subsequently use them as fuel or transfer them to others for use as fuels. The fuel tax is levied on a specific basis.



Additional Duties



Import Taxes
There is a value-added tax (VAT) imposed on all domestic and imported goods at every stage of the manufacturing and distribution chain. On imports the tax is assessed on the CIF duty-paid value at the port of entry in the Netherlands; if excise taxes or other charges (excluding VAT) are applicable, the amount levied also is included. The VAT rate is the same for both domestic and imported goods.



Customs Fees
There are no customs surcharges. Violations of customs regulations can result in a fine. Antidumping duties may be imposed if it is established that imported products cause or threaten to cause material injury to an established domestic industry or if they threaten material retardation to the establishment of an industry planed for the near future.




Exchange Controls
No Exchange Controls



Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT's)
Technical barriers or non-tariff barriers to trade¬ as they are sometimes known, can cause many problems for exporters looking for new markets for their products. These barriers can be in the form of regulations, standards,
testing and certification procedures.¬ The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade tries to ensure that these barriers do not create unnecessary obstacles. To obtain further information on
Technical Barriers to Trade as well as Notifications on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, go to the WTO website at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tbt_e/tbt_e.htm.



Consular Fees
N/A



General Import Clearance
The broker performing the clearance generally completes customs clearance electronically. Entry information is sent to the central customs computer. There are several types used for clearance in the Netherlands. The specific entry requirement is based on the shipment value, approved use, commodity type, and licensing or other controls as well as the reason for importation.

General Import Entry Types

  • High value clearance (Duty / VAT paid if applicable)
  • Low Value clearance (Exemption Duty / VAT requested)
  • T1 (Transfer cargo not cleared to bonded warehouse)
  • Simplified procedure (Licensed consignee will perform clearance themselves)
  • Consignee has to provide clearance documents themselves (NATO 302 form, D39 Embassy goods etc.)
  • CARNET Shipments: FedEx does not handle Carnets shipments under its FedEx Express International Priority Services
When entry information is sent to the central customs computer, the computer will process the input data and send back a response to the agent assigning the shipment a color code. The color code is important as it determines how long it will take for the shipment to clear. The three possible color codes are white, green or red. Shipments selected red will require formal examination of the documentation by a customs officer prior to release being granted. Additionally, a physical examination of the contents of the shipment may also be required. White and green is an approval for the release of goods. The difference between white and green is only of importance for the clearance agent himself.
(Exception: COD shipments selected green or red cannot be released until changed by customs to white).

The following is a general guide to when each entry type may be used:

Low value imports and documents valued up to 22 Euro except for commodities subject to excise duty such as tobacco products, commodities having an alcohol or spirit content, hydrocarbon oils, etc. or commodities for which special regulations apply as prohibited items, medicines, CITES, phytosanitary, etc. or goods where low value is stated but do not represent a fair market value.

High value goods valued from 22 Euro upwards. Note: High value shipments, which need to be cleared temporarily into the Netherlands, will be handed through another broker other than FedEx for further handling unless the consignee has an ongoing license for temporary import. Temporary import and reason for import should be stated on the invoice. If the costs for temporary clearance are higher than duties and vat levied, FedEx will clear the shipment with payment of duties and vat.

Returned goods. Goods returned to the Netherlands after exhibition, repair etc. may be cleared without payment of duties and VAT. The Air Waybill and invoice should state clearly that the shipment is returned after exhibition, repair etc. The consignee will be contacted, as the original export documentation is needed for clearance. Delays are possible. The invoice should state serial numbers, model numbers, etc. in order that identification of the goods that were previously exported can be completed without physically examining the goods.

T1 shipments/Transit goods are shipments that need to be transferred to a bonded warehouse without having been cleared (i.e. no payment of duty and vat). Those shipments can only be transferred to a bonded warehouse if the consignee has notified the broker that they have a bonded warehouse and the consignee has sent a copy of their bonded warehouse license to the broker. Some goods cannot be transported with a T1 (e.g. Excise goods, etc.).

Special clearance process for licensed consignees. A few licensed consignees can use a simplified procedure. It enables them to receive the goods quickly without any customs delays. The consignee himself completes clearance.

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