Invoice declaration for imports

With an invoice declaration, a declaration of origin that the exporter includes in their sales invoice, the importer pays lower or zero import duties for most products. This declaration is only valid if you import products from countries that have preferential trade arrangements with the European Union (EU). Invoice declarations can only be used for products that are of preferential origin.

The exporter abroad includes the declaration in their invoice. By doing so, they state that the products they supply to you originate in the treaty country. This means that the products are produced in the treaty country and comply with the rules required to get the origin status of that country. Generally, the customs authority of the treaty country will explain these rules of origin to the exporter. As the importer, you only qualify for a tariff preference (reduction of import duties) if the products are transported directly (in Dutch) from the treaty country to the EU.

Value thresholds

Under most trade agreements, the exporter is authorised to use an invoice declaration for the shipments of products of preferential origin with a value less than €6,000. Is the value of the products with preferential origin higher? In that case, the exporter has to demonstrate the preferential origin of their products by one of the following:

  • The exporter requests a EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificate from the organisation (generally Customs) in the country of shipment.
  • The exporter has an Approved Exporter licence issued by the customs authority of the country of shipment. In that case, the exporter uses an invoice declaration that contains the customs authorisation number. They do not need a EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificate.

List of countries

The Access2Markets database of the European Commission contains an alphabetical list of countries. Click on a country to see if that country has a trade agreement with the EU. Almost all of the countries the EU has trade agreements with use invoice declarations. In practice however, some countries apply different rules for the invoice declaration, do not use origin declarations, or use different origin declarations. This concerns the following countries:

Andorra

The invoice declaration is only valid for certain products of preferential origin from Andorra. Namely, products included in Chapters 1 to 24 of the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, generally referred to as the Harmonised System (HS) developed by the World Customs Organization. This means products beginning with product codes (HS) digits between 01 and 24. This pertains to live animals and animal products, live plants and plant products (including vegetables and fruit), oils and similar products, prepared foods, beverages and spirits, and tobacco. All other products are subject to the customs union between the EU and Andorra. This means that you do not have to pay import duties if the origin of these products is Andorra (meaning, have been produced in Andorra or imported into Andorra from another country). That is why an invoice declaration for these products is unnecessary.

Türkiye

Do you import products from Türkiye? Then you can only get an invoice declaration for the shipment of products of preferential origin with a value up to €6,000 for most agricultural products and certain industrial products (in Dutch). For shipments over €6,000 you will need a EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificate (unless the Turkish exporter has an Approved Exporter licence). For all other products, you need to obtain an ATR certificate (in Dutch) from your Turkish supplier.

South Korea

South Korea also uses the invoice declaration (origin declaration) for shipments of products of preferential origin with a value up to €6,000. If the value is €6,000 or higher, the South Korean exporter must have an Approved Exporter licence, because South Korea does not use EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificates. The importer can verify the authenticity of the South Korean licence number (customs authorisation number). For more information about using invoice declarations in trading operations with South Korea, see ‘Mededeling nr. 22’ of the Dutch Customs Manual (Notice 22, only in Dutch).

Canada

Do you import products of preferential origin from Canada? In that case, you cannot use EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificates. The Canadian exporter may use the invoice declaration (origin declaration) for shipments up to and over €6,000. The Canadian exporter includes the Business Number issued by the Canadian government in the invoice declaration. For more information about this invoice declaration, see ‘Mededeling nr. 6’  of the Dutch Customs Manual (Notice 6, only in Dutch).

Singapore

For the import from Singapore the same rules apply as import from Canada. You cannot use EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificates. The invoice declaration (origin declaration) is valid for products of preferential origin from Singapore, regardless of the value of the shipment. Only businesses registered in Singapore that have a Unique Entity Number (UEN) are authorised to issue the invoice declaration. The Singapore exporter includes the UEN in their invoice declaration. For more information about this invoice declaration, see ‘Mededeling nr. 10’ of the Dutch Customs Manual (Notice 10,  only in Dutch).

Vietnam

Under the free trade agreement with Vietnam, Vietnamese exporters can use an invoice declaration (origin declaration) for shipments of products of preferential origin with a value up to €6,000. For shipments with a higher value, Vietnamese exporters use the EUR.1 certificate for products of preferential origin. At the moment, it is not possible yet to apply for an Approved Exporter status in Vietnam.

Vietnam currently benefits from the Generalised System of Preference (GSP scheme) as well, but will lose its beneficiary status on 1 January 2023 (see below under the heading ‘Importing from developing countries’). Therefore, the EU is already granting tariff preferences for products of preferential origin from Vietnam. Therefore, you decide whether you want to import goods under the free trade agreement or under the GSP scheme. Different rules of origin may apply under both agreements. Also, the height of the tariff preference on products may vary.

The free trade agreement with Vietnam came into force on 1 August 2020. You will pay the lowest tariff on import duties based on the GSP scheme or free trade agreement when importing under the free trade agreement in the first 7 years after it came into force. So if the free trade agreement tariff for your product is higher than the GSP tariff, then you pay the lower GSP tariff when importing under the free trade agreement.

For more information about the free trade agreement with Vietnam, see ‘Mededeling nr. 11Mededeling nr. 11’ of the Dutch Customs Manual (Notice 11, only in Dutch).

San Marino

San Marino does not use invoice declarations. San Marino and the EU have a customs union. This means that the import of all goods (except coal and steel) originating from San Marino is exempt from import duties. Originating in San Marino means that the product has been produced in San Marino or has been imported into San Marino from a third country.

Developing countries (GSP countries)

These countries qualify for the Generalised System of Preferences. In the list of countries you can identify the GSP countries by 1 of the following additions:

  • Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)
  • Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+)
  • Everything but Arms (EBA)

For export of products of preferential origin to the EU, most exporters from GSP countries do not use an invoice declaration, but a statement on origin (see below under the heading “Importing from developing countries’).

Japan

Japan does not apply the commonly-used invoice declaration. You need a statement on origin for imports of products of preferential origin from Japan. Alternatively, you can claim ‘importer’s knowledge’ (see below under the heading ‘Importing from Japan’).

United Kingdom

Similar to Japan, for imports of products of preferential origin from the United Kingdom, you need a statement on origin or claim importer’s knowledge (see below under the heading ‘Importing from the United Kingdom’).

Standard text

The invoice declaration is a required standard text. If the foreign exporter deviates from the text, the declaration can become invalid. As a result, you as importer will not qualify for reduced import duties.

Invoice declaration for PEM countries, alternative for EUR.1 certificate

You use this declaration for imports of products of preferential origin from treaty countries listed in the column ‘PEM countries (Regional Convention)’ on pages 3 and 4 of this overview (in Dutch). PEM countries are part of the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean convention. For the English text of this invoice declaration (origin declaration), see example 1 (‘Voorbeeld 1’) in this overview (in Dutch).

Invoice declaration for PEM countries, alternative for EUR-MED certificate

This declaration is rarely used and only relevant for imports of products of preferential origin from PEM countries listed in the column ‘PEM countries (Regional Convention)’ on pages 3 and 4 of this overview (in Dutch). The declaration provides more options for those who want to re-export products they imported from a PEM country, either processed or not, to another PEM country. For the text of this invoice declaration, see example 2 of this list. For shipments of products of preferential origin with a value over €6,000, you need a EUR-MED certificate.

Transition rules

Please note: As of 1 September 2021, alternative origin rules apply for trade between the EU and certain PEM countries. These alternative rules are also known as transitional rules of origin. These transitional rules (in Dutch) serve as an alternative in addition to the rules of origin of the Regional Convention that are currently in place. This means that you can use both systems of rules of origin as proof of preferential origin.

The system of transitional rules only applies to the import of products of preferential origin in PEM countries listed in the column ‘PEM countries (transitional rules)’ on page 3 of this overview (in Dutch). This is not yet the case for all countries in this column. An overview of PEM countries applying the transitional rules since 1 January 2022 can be found in the Official Journal of the European Union. You have to use the invoice declaration under example 11 (‘Voorbeeld 11’) of this overview (in Dutch) to demonstrate the preferential origin according to the transitional rules. This invoice declaration is rarely used. It may be useful if you import products from a PEM country that applies the transitional rules and wants to re-export these products, either processed or not, to another PEM country that applies the transitional rules.

Please note: For shipments of products of preferential origin with a value over €6,000, you now need, in accordance with the transitional rules, a EUR.1 certificate to prove preferential origin, not a EUR-MED certificate.

Invoice declaration for various treaty countries, alternative for EUR.1 certificate

You use this declaration for imports of products of preferential origin from the Ivory Coast, South Korea, and the countries listed in the column ‘Overige overeenkomstlanden’ (Other treaty countries) and ‘EPO Oostelijk Zuid-Afrika’ (EPA Eastern South Africa) in this overview (in Dutch). For the text of this invoice declaration, see example 10 of this overview (in Dutch).

Invoice declaration for Canada

This declaration grants tariff preference for imports of products of preferential origin from Canada. For the text of this invoice declaration, see example 3 of this overview (in Dutch).

Invoice declaration for Singapore

This declaration grants tariff preference for imports of products of preferential origin from Singapore. The exporter in Singapore can only draft the invoice declaration in English. For the text of this invoice declaration, see example 5 of this overview (in Dutch).

Invoice declaration for Vietnam

This declaration provides tariff preference for imports of products of preferential origin from Vietnam. For the text of this invoice declaration, see example 6 of this overview (in Dutch).

Importing from developing countries

Are you importing products of preferential origin from developing countries? In that case, you usually also qualify for a reduction of import duties. These countries qualify for the Generalised System of Preferences. In the alphabetical list of countries, the countries under de Generalised System of Preferences have the additions Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), and ‘Everything but Arms (EBA)’.

For exports of products of preferential origin to the EU, exporters from GSP countries use a statement on origin (‘Attest van Oorsprong’). The statement on origin is an origin declaration that the exporter includes in their sales invoice, similar to the invoice declaration.

REX registration

The statement on origin has replaced the Certificate of Origin Form A. The GSP countries were able to choose between 3 transition periods (between 1 January 2017 and 30 June 2020) to switch from Form A to the statement on origin.

Exporters from GSP countries that use a statement on origin require a REX number for export shipments containing products of preferential origin with a value over €6,000. The exporter receives this number after registration in the REX (Registered Exporter) database in their country. The exporter states the assigned REX number in the statement on origin. You do not need a REX number for shipments containing products of preferential origin with a value up to €6,000. For the text of the statement on origin, see example 7 of this overview (in Dutch) or pages 3 and 4 of ‘Mededeling nr. 4’ of the Dutch Customs Manual (in Dutch).

Some GSP countries have decided not to adopt the REX system. You do not qualify for a reduction of import duties if you import products of preferential origin from these countries (irrespective of their value). These are countries listed with the statement ‘REX system not yet applied’ in the second column of the chart under ‘Dates of application of the REX system for all GSP beneficiary countries’ on this page.

Multiple agreements

In addition to the GSP scheme, Madagascar, Kenia, Lesotho, the Comoros, Samoa, the Solomon Isles, Syria, and Mozambique also joined other economic partnership agreements with the EU. As a result, most of these countries use the invoice declaration including the Approved Exporter licence (see example 10 in this overview (in Dutch) for the invoice declaration text) and the EUR.1 certificate, as well as the statement on origin. Syria does not use the REX system, which is why you cannot use a statement on origin. Syria only uses EUR.1 certificates.

The document you use for imports (invoice declaration/EUR.1 or statement on origin) determines the tariff for import duty. You should therefore always check in advance from which proof of origin you may benefit the most. Bear in mind that the rules of origin for invoice declaration/EUR.1 may deviate from the rules of origin that apply to the statement on origin.

Importing from Japan

On 1 February 2019, the trade agreement between the EU and Japan came into force. As a result, you no longer need to pay import duties in most cases for imports of Japanese products of preferential origin. Japan does not apply the commonly-used invoice declaration.

Importers have 2 options to qualify for the reduced import duty:

1. Importer's knowledge

You claim importer’s knowledge. In that case, you need documents from the Japanese exporter proving the Japanese preferential origin of the products supplied. If you import on the basis of importer’s knowledge, the Dutch/EU customs authority may request inspection of these supporting documents. If so, you have to demonstrate the preferential origin status within 3 months after the request for inspection of the documents. What happens if you do not give this information? In that case, you are no longer entitled to tariff preferences. You are required to save the supporting documents for a period of 7 years.

2. Statement on origin

The statement on origin is an origin declaration that the Japanese exporter includes in their invoice. They use it to declare that the preferential origin of the goods is Japan. Preferably, the Japanese exporter includes the statement on origin in the English language. Exporters are also required to state their Japan Corporate Number in the text. You can verify the validity of this number on the website of the National Tax Agencyin Japan. For the text of the statement on origin, see example 4 of this overview (in Dutch).

For imports of products into the Netherlands/EU based on importer’s knowledge or a statement on origin, the value threshold of €6,000 is irrelevant. Both proofs of origin can be used to claim preferential treatment for imports, regardless of the value of the shipment.

For more information about the statement on origin for Japan, see ‘Mededeling nr. 8’ of the Dutch Customs Manual (Notice 8, only in Dutch)).

Importing from the United Kingdom

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK entered into force on 1 May 2021. The agreement ensures that you do not have to pay import duties on products of preferential origin from the UK. To qualify for exemption from import duties, importers can opt for a statement on origin or claim importer’s knowledge.

1. Statement on origin

The British supplier includes a statement on origin in their invoice. By doing so, they declare that the goods are of preferential origin from the UK. In the statement, they include their British EORI number, regardless of the amount on the invoice. They get this number from the British customs authority. For the text of the statement on origin, see example 9 of this overview (in Dutch). In the statement on origin, they enter the EORI number as ‘Exporter Reference No.’.

2. Importer's knowledge

Are you claiming importer’s knowledge to get an exemption from import duties? In that case, make sure that you have direct proof provided by the British exporter. This proof of origin should demonstrate that the preferential origin of the products supplied by the British exporter is the UK. For example, a calculation of the costs with accompanying preferential suppliers’ declarations, or a description of the production process supporting proof of origin. Ask Dutch Customs in advance what they consider acceptable proof. If the British supplier does not provide this information, you must request a statement on origin. The use of importer’s knowledge can be an option in intercompany transactions. For more information, see ‘Mededeling nr. 12 of the Dutch Customs Manual (Notice 12, only in Dutch).

Northern Ireland and British Overseas Territories

Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but has a special status in business transactions with the EU. If you are importing from Northern Ireland, the European VAT system applies. These shipments are subject to the EU rules of intra-Community acquisitions (in Dutch). You pay no import duties and the origin of the goods is irrelevant. Therefore, you do not need a statement on origin or importer’s knowledge when importing goods from Northern Ireland.

The British Overseas Territories (OCT) are not covered by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK. This means that you cannot claim tariff preference treatment (reduction from import duties) when importing products from these territories.

Importing from Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)

For imports of products of preferential origin from the OCT group, tariff preference also applies. OCT (‘Landen en Gebieden overzee’, LGO) are overseas countries and territories that have a special relationship with Denmark, France, and the Netherlands. For the Netherlands, these are Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St Eustatius, and St Maarten. The Access2Markets database has a list of OCT. Instead of an invoice declaration, countries and territories with an OCT status use the statement on origin for exports of products of preferential origin to the EU.

The exporter includes the statement on origin in their sales invoice. The exporter will need a REX number for shipments to the EU containing products of preferential origin with a value over €10,000. They need to register locally as Registered Exporter. The exporter states the assigned REX number in the statement on origin. For the text of the statement on origin, see example 8 of this overview (in Dutch) or page 4 of ‘Mededeling nr. 26’ of the Dutch Customs Manual (Notice 26, only in Dutch).

Within the OCT, the island of Saint-Barthélemy has not yet switched to the REX system. The EU does not grant tariff preference for products of preferential origin from this French overseas territory.

Do you have to pay import duties?

Do you want to know if a reduced import duty applies to your import product? Then consult the Access2Markets database of the European Commission.

  • Enter the HS code for your import product. An HS code (Harmonised System code) is a product code value that customs authorities around the world use to categorise products. Each product has its own HS code.
  • Select the country you are importing from as ‘Country from’ and the Netherlands (or another EU Member State) as ‘Country to’.
  • Click on ‘Search’.
  • Then browse the list of goods until you find the description of your product and the corresponding product code.
  • Next, click on the product code of your product.
  • You are now directed to the page ‘Tariffs’. Here you will find the import duties for your product. In the line ‘ERGA OMNES/third country duty rate’ you will find the general import duty of the EU for the import of your product. If you import the product from a country that has a trade agreement with the EU, you will see a line with ‘tariff preferences’. In that case, generally a reduction or even exemption of import duties (0%) applies. You only qualify for tariff preference if the product of preferential origin is from the treaty partner.

Incorrect use

What if the Dutch/EU customs authority questions the preferential origin status of the goods at the time of import? If inspection shows that the products stated on the invoice declaration or in the statement on origin are not of preferential origin, you as the importer must pay the import duties due. Consequently, there may be additional collection of import duties payable on previous shipments.

Invoice declaration for exports

Are you an exporter instead of an importer? And are you exporting products of preferential origin to countries that have a trade agreement with the EU? In that case, generally invoice declarations (with or without Approved Exporter licence), EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificates, or in the case of Japan and the UK the statement on origin, can be used. The EU has unilateral or one-sided trade agreements with some countries. As a result, importers in these countries do not qualify for tariff preferece treatments when importing products of preferential origin from the EU (whereas EU Member States do benefit). What if a treaty country grants tariff preferences for products from the EU that have preferential origin? In that case, you as the exporting party must provide the origin declarations or the documents proving origin.

Remember that different rules of origin may apply per country or group of countries. You also need a REX (Registered Exporter) number for export shipments of products of preferential origin with a value less than €6,000 to Japan, the UK, Canada, the Ivory Coast, and Vietnam. You can apply for a REX number (in Dutch) at Dutch Customs.

Do you have any questions about the rules of origin or the use of invoice declarations, EUR.1 certificates, ERU-MED certificates, statements on origin for imports from or exports to a treaty country? Please contact the KVK's export documents department. Email Team West or call 088 585 18 87. Email Team Oost/Zuid or call 088 585 18 89.

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