Company Formation in the Netherlands: How to start an import-export company

Contributed by Intercompany Solutions, 13 December, 2018

Starting a business in the Netherlands has become interesting for many foreigners. Some of the main reasons aspiring business owners mention are the positive entrepreneurial climate and beneficial tax rates. If you are exploring your options for starting a Dutch company, it's wise to invest some time in researching the various factors that will influence your decision. Are you aware of the different business types? Have you informed yourself about the various regulations regarding immigration, in the case you would also like to move to the Netherlands? And did you apply for the right Dutch work permit?

Staring a Dutch company does not need to be difficult. But it is very important you stay on top of all the necessary information in order to establish exactly what you want. Intercompany Solutions can advise you throughout the process and inform you about the requisite and logical steps to take. We are up to date on the current local requirements for business administration and as such, we can incorporate your Dutch business quickly and provide all-in services.

On average, the formation of a company in the Netherlands takes up to three days. The process of formation can even be done remotely, if it's not possible for you to travel to the Netherlands. If you are really in a hurry, it is even possible to use an expedited procedure in order to incorporate a Dutch BV company within 1 day.

Some interesting facts about starting a company in the Netherlands:

Once you decide you want to start a Dutch company, you can follow the procedure divided in 3 steps below. There are several documents required for the formation of your business, all documentation is handled in both Dutch and English.

Why the formation of a Dutch company is a good opportunity for your business

The formation of a Dutch company can provide many benefits for your overall business aspirations. The Netherlands is known worldwide for its beneficial environment for entrepreneurs. Many global investors and entrepreneurs consider starting a business in the Netherlands. Some of the benefits of establishing a business in Holland:

Guidelines for import to Holland

In case you import goods from abroad intended for the market in Holland, you need to comply with all relevant governmental regulations and rules. The present guidelines will help you figure out your obligations. They provide mere guidance. You might have additional obligations or you might need to follow another order in completing the steps.

1. Check the protection of the goods

If you plan to import goods, you need to determine beforehand if they are subject to laws on copyright, trademark, design or patents. In case you would like to order the manufacturing of a product abroad, make sure that your trademark and design are adequately protected.

2. Check if the goods are permitted in Holland

Almost all products manufactured in the EU are permitted in Holland. The national government may prohibit EU products only under exceptional circumstances. Regarding products from third countries, the Customs Office performs a check to verify whether they comply with the legislation on health, safety, environment and economy.

3. Obtain permission from the producer if you intend to import goods manufactured outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

You can import and subsequently sell goods originating from non-EEA countries only with permission from the producer. Otherwise you would be implementing parallel import.

4. Find out if you need to obtain an import licence, certificate or exemption

Some products can be imported only in restricted quantities or prohibited for import altogether. Others are subject to particular conditions or requirements and their import may necessitate an exemption, licence or certificate. The nature of the product determines the authority to which you need to apply.

5. Check the compliance of the product with the Act on Commodities

In case you are producing, preparing or trading in foods or consumer goods in Holland, you need to ensure compliance with the Act on Commodities (Warenwet). It provides some general rules with respect to product safety, proper information, public health and fair trade.

6. Check if the goods need CE marking

CE marks indicate that the goods meet the minimum specifications of the European Union with respect to health, safety and environment. In cases of import of goods from non-EU countries,

the importer applies the CE mark to the products. In cases of import from EU member states the manufacturer of the goods applies the CE mark.

7. Sign straightforward contracts with your suppliers

Sign a sales, agency or distribution agreement where you explicitly state the conditions on issues such as guarantees and liabilities, and indicate which country's laws shall govern the business relationship.

8. Consider product liability

In case you import particular products from a non-EU country to offer them on the market in Holland and they cause damages, you may carry liability as the official importer. It is possible to arrange an insurance covering product liability.

9. Remember that you are responsible for the packing material

In case you produce or import packaging or packed products in Holland, it is your responsibility to manage the packaging up to its waste phase (responsibility of the producer).

10. Declare products at the Customs

You have to declare your products at the Customs in case you are importing them from a non-EU country. The Customs Office will use our declaration to calculate the export or import duty.

11. Cover import taxes

You may need to cover different taxes for import of products in Holland (excise duty, import duty, VAT, etc). The rate of the import taxes varies with respect to the nature of the product and its origin. In some cases it can be advantageous to apply for an Article 23 license. The advantage of the article 23 license is that the VAT does not need to be paid up front on declaring the goods with the customs. Intercompany Solutions has great experience with article 23 license applications.

Read here for more information if you are interested in establishing an import or export company. You can also contact our incorporation agents who will guide you through the process.

Intercompany Solutions has made a company formation guide for the Netherlands, which you can read here.

Tags: company formation | business | Netherlands |



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