Pay lower or no import duties

Import duties make your product more expensive. In some situations, you pay less or even no import duty at all. For example, if you store products from outside the EU in a customs storage space. Or if you import a product from a country the EU has a trade agreement with. You may gain a price advantage over your competitors, and you will make more profit.

You pay import duties if you import products from countries outside the EU (third countries). This applies to most of the products. However, you do not pay import duties for some products from outside the EU. For example for books, laptops, and telephones.

Free movement within the EU

Do you import products from Germany, Poland, or another EU member state? Within the EU there is free movement of goods. This means you never pay import duties on purchases from other EU member states. It is also not necessary to declare the products for import at customs.

Pay lower import duties

You pay lower or no import duties if you import products from countries with which the EU has a preferential trade agreement. This is called tariff preference. The condition is, however, that the products are of preferential origin in (that means, have been wholly obtained or sufficiently processed in) the country with which the agreement exists, and are shipped from that country.

Examples of these documents and declarations are a EUR.1 certificate, invoice declaration, or certificate of origin. Which document or declaration you need depends on the treaty country and the value of the shipment. More information can be found in the article Invoice declaration for imports.

Products of negligible value

You do not pay import duties for products of negligible value that are sent to you directly from a non-EU country. This €150 does not include transport and insurance costs. This exemption does not apply to alcoholic products, perfume and toilet water, and tobacco and tobacco products. You can find more information on the website of the Customs Administration of the Netherlandss (in Dutch).

Customs union with Türkiye

Do you want to import clothing, leather goods, or other products from Türkiye (prev. Turkey)? Türkiye is not an EU member state, but the EU does form a customs union with Türkiye. As a result, you do not pay any import duties for goods of Turkish origin. Origin means that the product was made in Türkiye or was previously imported into Türkiye from another country. You can prove the Turkish origin with an ATR certificate. Your Turkish supplier can request this from Turkish customs.

Please note that most agricultural products and some steel products are excluded from the customs union. In order to be eligible for a reduced import duty, you must prove the Turkish preferential origin with a EUR.1 document or invoice declaration.

Temporary storage of goods

You can store goods from non-EU countries in a space for temporary storage (STS) upon entry, awaiting a more specific customs procedure or until they are re-exported. The goods are supervised by Customs. This also means that you do not pay import duties and other import taxes (such as VAT on import). A customs warehouse is beneficial if you have customers outside the EU. 


You buy cotton t-shirts in China. There is no trade agreement with China. The import duty in the EU for these t-shirts is 12%. You do not pay import duty if you store the t-shirts in a STS after arrival. Do you sell the t-shirts at a later stage from the warehouse to a customer outside the EU? Then your selling price to this customer will be lower. Because you do not pass on a 12% import duty amount. Customs in your customer's country probably also charges import duties. A bonded warehouse prevents your customer from paying double import duties.

Do you sell the Chinese t-shirts from your bonded warehouse to a customer within the EU? Then you import the t-shirts and pay 12% import duty.

Tariff suspension and tariff quota

Are you a manufacturer and are certain raw materials or semi-finished products not or scarcely available in the EU? Then the European Commission can reduce or cancel the import duties for these products for a certain period. This is called a tariff suspension. You request a tariff suspension from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

If there is a tariff quota, you may import products up to a certain quantity with a reduction or exemption from import duties. If the maximum quantity is reached, you pay the usual rate of import duties again.

Inward and outward processing

Do you process or transform raw materials inside or outside the EU? Then you pay less import duty if you use the following arrangements:

Processing raw materials

With the Inward processing procedure you temporarily import raw materials from a non-EU country. You process the raw materials into an end product or semi-finished product and then export the processed product to a country outside the EU. In that case, you do not pay any import duties and other import taxes (such as VAT on import) on the imported raw materials. The Inward processing procedure can also be used for the repair or recovery of products from non-EU countries.

Outward processing

With outward processing, you send raw materials from the EU to a third country for processing. For example, you export textile fabrics to the United States. A US business processes the fabrics and sends them back to you as clothes. With the outward processing procedure (in Dutch), you do not pay import duties on the value of the previously exported textiles when you import the clothing into the EU. You can also use the outward processing procedure to repair your product in a third country. On the return of the repaired product, you get full or partial relief from import duties. You do not pay import duties if a supplier repairs the product free of charge within the warranty period.

Clearing goods through customs