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Update on measures regarding the import of goods to combat the COVID-19 crisis


On 3 April 2020, the European Commission published a Commission Decision allowing an exemption of both import duties and VAT regarding the importation of goods to support victims of the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, Dutch Customs has published relief-measures relating to certificates of origin (for which normally original docs need to be present at the moment of import).

Exemption from import duties and VAT

Member States requested the relief of imports duties and VAT to combat the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak. In this respect the European Commission has issued a Decision to grant this relief and the strict conditions under which this may be applied. For an organization to be able to make use of the relief, one needs to meet the following criteria:

  • The goods are to be imported by or on behalf of a State Organization (approved by the competent authorities of the Member States). In the Netherlands these are for example government agencies, aid units or philanthropic institutions.
  • The goods being imported are supplied free of charge to persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19.

This exemption can be applied for retroactively from 30 January through 31 July 2020. By the end of this period, the situation will be re-assessed (which may result in an extension).

Certificates of origin

Dutch Customs acknowledged that, considering the current crisis, there might be difficulties in obtaining original preferential origin certificates, to be presented upon importation of goods. Therefore, they allow digital copies of the certificates to be used temporarily. This applies for the following preferential origin certificates: EUR.1, EUR-MED, FORM A as well as A.TR certificates (the latter not formally being an origin certificate).

The digital copies should be sent to the following email address of Dutch Customs:

These measures will be retrospectively applicable from 1 March 2020. Note that the original copies of the preferential certificates of origin eventually do need to be included in your administration.

Let’s talk!

Should your company be eligible for the exemption provided by this measure or should you have any questions around the measures regarding the preferential certificates of origin, please contact Claudia Buysing Damsté or Jos Verstraten.

Contact us

Claudia Buysing Damsté

Claudia Buysing Damsté

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 103 04 63

Jos Verstraten

Jos Verstraten

Senior Tax Director, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 329 63 07

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