International trade terms explained

In de internationale handel worden vaak moeilijke woorden gebruikt. Om je te helpen leggen we hieronder 21 veelgebruikte begrippen eenvoudig uit.

Difficult words are often used in international trade. To help you, we explain 21 commonly used terms below. Without experience with import or export, you are usually not familiar with HS code, permit article 23, quota and crossborder e-commerce. So it is only natural if you sometimes lose track.

Do you come across issues in your work that require further explanation? Then call the KVK Advice Team. You can reach our entrepreneurs' advisors on 088 585 22 22.


Excise duty

Excise duty is a national tax. Every country has its

own excise goods and excise tax rates. In

Germany for excise tax on coffee, for example.

And Spain and Italy do not levy

no excise duty on wine.

Anti-dumping duty

An anti-dumping duty is an additional

tax you pay on top of the import duty.

You pay anti-dumping duty when a

supplier "dumps" products from outside

the EU on the EU market at a significantly

lower price than normal.


With a quota, a country indicates a limit.

For example the maximum quantity of a

certain product that you are allowed to

import. The limit may also indicate up to

what maximum of the imported product a

reduction in import duties applies. This is

called a tariff quota.

Crossborder e-commerce

With crossborder e-commerce your online

shop sells in multiple countries. You sell not

only to customers in the country where your

webshop is located.

Documentary Collection

With this form of payment, you agree with

your customer which documents they will

receive. For example, the invoice and

transport documents. Your customer pays

for the products upon receipt of the agreed


Customs warehouse


Products arrive from outside the EU. You do

not import them, but store them in a

Customs warehouse, or a space for

temporary storage. The products are now

under the supervision of Dutch Customs.

Then, when selling to a customer outside the

EU, you do not pay import duties and import

VAT. Your foreign customer only pays import

duties in their country.

Customs duties

Customs duties are taxes on products that

you import from countries outside the EU.

You pay the tax to the Customs

Administration of the importing member

state. Another word for customs duty is

import duty.

Customs transit (T1/T2)

This is a customs regulation by which you

transport goods without paying import duties

and VAT. There is internal and external transit.

With internal transit (T2), you transport Union

goods (in Dutch) through countries outside

the EU. With external transit (T1), you

transport non-Union goods within EU

member states.

European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA is an agreement between the 27 EU

member states, Iceland, Norway and

Liechtenstein. With it businesses from Iceland,

Norway and Liechtenstein can offer more

easily offer their products or services in the

EU. These products and services must,

however, comply with all EU rules.

HS code

An HS (Harmonized System) code is a 6-digit

commodity code that Customs worldwide

uses to classification of import and export

products. Each product has a different HS

code. Countries can expand the HS code of a

product by adding several digits.


Incoterms® are established international

terms of delivery for the transportation of

goods. With Incoterms®, you agree on who is

responsible for arranging and paying for

transport. You also agree who bears the risk

of damage to goods or loss of the goods

during transport.

Intra-Community supply

A product supply to a customer in another EU

member state. The products are transported

from the Netherlands to the other EU

member state. The supplier and customer of

the products are entrepreneurs and have a

VAT number.

Intra-Community acquisition

A product purchase from a supplier in another

EU member state. The products are

transported from the other EU member state

to the Netherlands. The supplier and buyer of

the products are entrepreneurs and have a

VAT number.

International sanction

With a sanction, international measures, you force

countries, organisations or individuals to

modify their undesirable behaviour. Usually

the United Nations or the EU impose


Letter of Credit (L/C)

The Letter of Credit (L/C) is an international

payment instrument that provides security.

The payment involves not only the importer

and exporter, but also 2 banks. The exporter

gets paid as soon as it meets the conditions in

the L/C. Your usually use this form of

payment for larger sales.

OSS regulation

The Netherlands Tax Administration's

One-Stop-Shop scheme (OSS) is there for

businesses with distance sales. Here you sell

goods in the EU to customers who do not

submit VAT returns. Via the OSS, you arrange

your VAT return in one go. You file your

country and immediately pay the VAT you

have to pay in other EU member states.

Parallel import

With parallel import, you import branded

products outside the official distribution

channels. Parallel import of branded products

from the EEA only with the consent of the

trademark holder. Parallel import from an EEA

country is permitted.

Pre-Shipment Control

Do you want more certainty about the goods

you are importing? Then you can engage an

inspector for a pre-shipment check. When

your order is almost ready, the inspector that

person will check whether your products and

packaging are as agreed.


In a tender, you register for a public tender

from a government. Businesses from the EU

can offer to provide a product or service. The

client decides on the basis of price and quality

which price quotation is accepted.

Union Goods

Union goods are goods produced in the EU or

previously imported from a non-EU country.

Import duties and national taxes have been

paid for these goods. Goods under customs

supervision in a customs warehouse are

called non-Union goods. They are not in free

circulation in the EU.

Article 23 permit

With an article 23 permit of the Netherlands

Tax Administration you do not pay import VAT

at the time of import of products from outside

the EU. You pay VAT in your VAT return. The

advantage of the licence is that you do not

have to advance the VAT.