Importing goods from Türkiye
- Marcel Hoebink
- 9 May 2019
- Edited 22 December 2023
- 4 min
- Managing and growing
Dutch importers import products such as clothing, leather goods, and food from Türkiye. Thanks to the customs union between the EU and Türkiye, you will not have to pay import duties for most products. This gives businesses in both countries a competitive edge and allows for larger profit margins.
You do have to follow certain rules when you import goods from Türkiye. For example, declaring your consignment to customs. This article explains what to look out for when importing products from Türkiye.
Severe earthquakes struck southern and southeastern Turkey on 6 February 2023. There were many casualties and houses, businesses and roads were damaged. The cost of repairs is huge. The earthquakes had a big effect on people and the economy. If you do business in Turkey, it may still affect your company. Turkey has high inflation. In June 2023, prices were on average 38% higher than in the same month a year ago. The weak Turkish Lira makes importing goods from Turkey cheaper.
Important import products
Türkiye is an important trading partner of the Netherlands. Our country imported over €5.3 billion worth of goods from Türkiye in 2022. Many of these imports include clothing, yarns, fabrics, fruit and vegetables, iron and steel and car parts.
Finding a Turkish suppliers
Are you looking for a Turkish supplier? You find suppliers at trade fairs, or ask for help finding business partners from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency or the European Enterprise Network. They help entrepreneurs find partners. Take into account cultural differences between the Netherlands and Türkiye and check that your business partner is reliable (in Dutch). If possible, request free samples (in Dutch). This allows you to see whether the products meet your quality requirements and the applicable product requirements. You can also use samples to compare products from different suppliers.
EU customs union with Türkiye
For most products from Türkiye, you do not have to pay import duties because of the customs union between the EU and Türkiye. When you import clothes from China or the United States, you usually pay 12% import duty. For Türkiye, this rate is 0%. Türkiye is not a member of the EU. So, you need to declare your import shipment to customs and have an EORI number. You will need this number when dealing with customs. A logistics service provider often arranges the declaration to customs for you. For example, a carrier or a forwarder.
No import duties with ATR certificate
Under the customs union, you qualify for import duty relief if you present an ATR certificate when the goods enter the EU. By doing so, you demonstrate that your import product is of Turkish origin. Of Turkish origin means that the product was made in Türkiye or previously imported into Türkiye from another country.
You can request the ATR certificate from your Turkish supplier, who in turn gets the document from Turkish customs. Turkish customs have to sign the ATR certificate. Without a signature from a Turkish customs officer, you do not qualify for import duty relief.
EUR.1 certificate and invoice declaration
The customs union and ATR certificate do not apply to many agricultural goods and some steel (in Dutch). To qualify for import duty relief for these goods, you need an EUR.1 certificate from Türkiye. Your Turkish supplier should request this certificate from Turkish customs. For consignments under the threshold of €6,000, your Turkish supplier may provide an invoice declaration as an alternative to a EUR.1 certificate.
A EUR.1 certificate or invoice declaration can only be issued for preferential origin products. These products are wholly obtained or sufficiently processed in Turkey. Wholly obtained means that the product has been harvested, extracted or born in Turkey. Without a EUR.1 or invoice declaration, you will still pay the import duty due upon import.
When you import goods into the Netherlands, you pay Dutch VAT. You are allowed to deduct this VAT as input tax in your VAT return if you are entitled to deduct VAT. On balance, you will not pay any VAT at all. If you regularly import goods, you can apply for an article 23 permit from the Dutch Tax Administration to avoid having to pay VAT at the time of import. Report the VAT in your regular VAT return instead. If you are allowed to deduct VAT, report it as deductible input tax in the same return. On balance, you will pay no VAT at all.
With an ATR certificate or EUR.1 certificate, you get import duty relief. In addition to the usual invoice, packing slip, and transport documents, you will need additional documents for certain products. This includes goods that may pose a risk to Safety, Health, the Economy, or the Environment. Inquire with your customs broker to find out which import documents you will need to import your product from Türkiye.
Make arrangements with your Turkish supplier on how the goods will be shipped. With an Incoterms® rule, you agree which of the two is responsible for arranging transportation and the corresponding costs. And who will bear the risk of damage to or loss of the goods during transit.
Product requirements and product liability
Products imported from Türkiye have to meet European and national product requirements. All products you place on the European market have to be safe. As an importer, you are liable for injuries and damage caused by a faulty product. You can take out insurance against product liability.
Parallel imports and counterfeit goods
You are not simply allowed to import any and all branded products from Türkiye. Many branded products will already have an official importer and the brand name will usually be registered in the trademark register. If that is the case, you are only allowed to import the branded products from Türkiye with the trademark owner’s permission. This will usually be the manufacturer. Imports outside official distribution channels are called parallel imports.
Important: importing and trading counterfeit goods is always punishable.