The Netherlands is part of the European Union (EU). The EU is a “customs union”, which means that the entire EU area is a single customs area. When an international company takes goods from a non-EU member state to the EU or from an EU member state to a destination outside the EU, this company has to deal with customs regulations and usually also with (customs-related) international trade regulations.

To achieve unity of the customs policy for the entire EU customs area, the customs legislation is laid down in the European Customs Code. This Code consists of several (“directly effective”) EU regulations, which must be applied by every EU member state. EU member states are only permitted to a limited extent to have additional national customs regulations, which usually relate to the structure and (criminal law) powers of the customs administration. The customs tariffs (the level of the customs duties) are also laid down in European customs legislation.

Our services

At DHK we have very extensive knowledge and experience in the area of the European customs legislation. Our services in this area comprise:

  • Customs planning options with respect to customs aspects relating to product development, purchasing (e.g. tariff classification; Binding Tariff Information / BTI), customs value, origin (Binding Origin Information / BOI and tariff preferences), inclusion of customs procedures in logistic and distribution processes (customs transport, customs warehouses, inward processing, processing under customs control, outward processing, temporary importation) – whether or not in combination with inclusion in / adaptation to existing ERP systems;
  • Reduction / management of customs compliance costs (including assistance with obtaining Authorised Economic Operator / AEO status, and the monitoring aspects associated with this);
  • Identifying and proposing ways to reduce customs risks;
  • Conducting checks in the area of customs & international trade compliance;
  • All other indirect tax issues, insofar as they relate to customs & international trade, such as anti-dumping duties, excise duties and VAT;
  • International trade issues;
  • Conducting objection and appeal procedures and proceedings with Dutch Customs and at the Dutch tax court and the European Court of Justice.

Our approach

We usually perform our work on a dossier basis, for both Dutch clients and clients established in other EU member states and countries outside the EU. For a small number of clients we perform the work on a continuous basis.

We mostly advise clients at the EU level, especially for customs dossiers pertaining to EU member states other than the Netherlands (i.e. where 99% of the customs legislation is based on the above-mentioned directly effective European customs legislation). For “Dutch” customs dossiers, our advice takes account of the specific Dutch regulations, if applicable. If more detailed information is required for advice relating to another EU member state, we usually ask a local customs consultant to assist. The local customs consultant then provides the advice for the EU member state concerned, either directly to our client or via us (this is naturally decided in consultation with our client). In certain cases we do this kind of work ourselves: on the instruction of or in close collaboration with law firms and/or accountancy firms in other EU member states, for their clients.