Customs law, import and export formalities; if you import or export goods to or from the European Union, you will be forced to deal with them. Knowledge of everything involved is a requirement - but it's not easy to plumb the depths of complex and ever-changing customs legislation. The era in which customs officers only made sure that the import duties were paid-  is gone. These days, customs officials also fulfil important duties in the enforcement of laws in the area of safety, health, the economy and the evironment.

It is better to prevent...

As a businessperson involved in the customs process, you are responsible for following the rules. You must be compliant. If you are not, then your goods can be held up at the border or even refused entry entirely. And as an importer, you can also face hefty custom claims later on. The same applies to customs shipping agents and transport and storage companies who fail to sufficiently cover the risks attached to their activities in the contract they have with their clients. Additional claims from the customs office and seizures can have an enormous impact on the financial position and continuity of your company. It is therefore better avoided altogether.

Profound knowledge close at hand

Our (customs) specialists have profound knowledge of the rules governing classification and origin, the rules for calculating the customs value and, especially, case law in this area. Being adviced on time, you will be able to save on costs considerably. We keep close track of developments and help you to find the way through customs laws and regulations.

Unique approach

Our approach is unique in the Netherlands. We help our clients not only to fight customs claims in objection or appeal proceedings against customs. As lawyers, we can and may also provide advice and litigate on the civil-law aspects of your customs case. Our customs practice is embedded in a broader-based trade, transport and insurance practice. We combine specialized knowledge in the areas of customs, antidumping, export control and sanctions regulations with extensive experience in related areas. These areas include civil liability law, contract law, insurance law and procedural law and criminal (procedural) law.

International network

We can call on our extensive network of customs specialists in other EU member states and other third countries. In short, we offer a ‘one stop shop’ for all of your customs matters. 

We can assist you in the following areas:

  • Excise tax laws
  • AEO
  • Anti-dumping duties
  • Objection, (higher) appeal, appeal in cassation, European procedures, requests for refund
  • Administrative fines and tax-related penalty orders
  • VAT on imports and exports
  • Carousel fraud
  • Civil-law aspects of customs claims:
    • Recourse
    • Seizure
    • Interim injunction proceedings
    • Arbitration
    • Insurance
  • (Direct) representation 
  • Customs forwarding
  • Customs duties
  • Customs regulations
    • Transit
    • Customs warehousing
    • Inward and outward processing
    • Temporary admission
  • Customs value
  • Export control
  • Fiscal representation
  • Incoterms
  • International trade
  • OLAF investigations
  • Origin
  • Logistics contracts and general conditions
  • Sanctions legislation
  • Tariff classification and Binding Tariff Information
  • Transport Law
  • Permits
  • Insurance law
  • VGEM legislation
    - Regulations in the area of safety, health, economics, the environment 

Reference work:

  • We assist various importers and customs forwarders (and their insurers) with national lawsuits against customs offices and in proceedings in front of the European Commission and European Court. This concerns disputes on origin, customs value, tariff classification and/or anti-dumping duties. The disputes concern different  subjects, such as fasteners, bicycles, shoes, chemicals, garlic, vitamin preparations, aeroplane parts, soya oil, cigarettes, fish, rice, rollators, games computers, steel cables, solar panels and LED lamps. Of course, we assess whether it is possible to recover the customs duties.
  • Because of our knowledge of customs and logistics contract law, we regularly draft contracts and general conditions for customs forwarders and their clients. They use these documents to arrange their mutual legal relationship.
  • For a large Dutch insurance company, we have drawn up the policy conditions for document liability insurance.
  • Kneppelhout advises several (Dutch) exporters and multinationals on the implications of export control and sanctions regulations. Is (for example) exporting to Iran or Russia permitted? 
  • Sometimes a court ruling means that clients have paid too much customs duties in the past. Declarations should have been made under a commodity code with a lower tariff. We follow developments in caselaw and for several clients we have already been able to achieve a ‘pleasant surprise’ by asking for a refund of substantial amounts of customs duties. 
  • In case of trademark infringements too, customs officials take measures and we take action. We handle border detentions in collaboration with our external colleagues in who are specialized in Intellectual Property.