• Customs

One stop shop for all customs matters

Customs law, import and export formalities. Companies that import or export goods to or from the EU automatically have to deal with these issues. Know-how is essential, but keeping abreast of the extensive, complex and ever-changing customs legislation poses challenges. The era in which customs authorities only made sure that customs duties were paid is long gone. Nowadays customs authorities are also charged with enforcing legislation in the areas of safety, health, economy and the environment. As the Netherlands is the key gateway that supplies European industries and markets and facilitates European exports, Dutch Customs plays a pivotal role.

Ploum – leading customs practice

Based in Rotterdam hosting Europe’s largest sea port, Ploum has a unique practice and a solid track record in the area of customs and trade law. The specialists in our Customs, Trade & Logistics team distinguish themselves by combining extensive knowledge of and experience in international logistics and trade in goods, with litigations against customs and other supervisory authorities, the contract and liability issues that may arise from customs claims, and possible criminal prosecutions in case of violation of customs or product regulations. Our specialists are your single point of contact for effectively settling all these matters.

Changing global trade landscape

Driven by technological innovations, digitalization and the rise of international e-commerce, over the past decades the volume of the international flows of goods has increased rapidly and the fabric of global trade has changed beyond recognition. Particularly in Asia new markets have emerged producing large volumes of products designated for import into the EU. As it regularly appears that importing products from third countries into the EU triggers discussions with authorities regarding a wide array of customs issues (such as: tariff classification, origin and valuation) as well as on product compliance issues, the growth and increasing complexity of global trade puts pressure and poses unprecedented challenges on both supervisory authorities and businesses in the EU.

An imminent Brexit as well as international trends towards growing protectionism and ensuring safety and security in international trade, increase pressure on businesses to adapt continuously in their need to comply.

Controls and enforcement at the border

Control and enforcement concentrate at the EU border where customs authorities play an important surveillance role, next to their main task to levy import duties. A significant percentage of all imported and exported goods enter Europe or leave the EU via the Netherlands. Dutch customs are therefore a key player in enforcing EU customs law and collecting duties.

Compliance is not optional

As a business involved in the customs process, compliance is your legal responsibility. In case of non-compliance goods may be held up at the border or even refused entry entirely. Importers may furthermore face hefty customs claims later on, and criminal penalties. The same applies to customs brokers, logistics and storage companies that fail to sufficiently cover the risks connected to their contractual activities and obligations. Additional claims from the customs authorities, seizures and criminal enforcement may have far reaching impact on the financial position, continuity and reputation of your company. It is, needless to say, far better to avoid these altogether. This is exactly where Ploum’s team of customs specialists advises businesses, and especially help them to limit damage when a claim arises.

Cost savings

Our team of customs specialists helps business realizing considerable costs-savings. They have in-depth knowledge of the rules governing classification and origin, calculation of customs value, anti-dumping measures and corresponding case law. And our team keeps close track of recent developments in legislation and case law in order to help you to find the right solutions.

Unique, multidisciplinary approach

Our approach is unique in the Netherlands. We help our clients not only to fight customs claims in appeal proceedings against the customs authorities. As practicing Dutch attorneys, we can also litigate on any related civil-law aspects, including cassation proceedings at the Dutch Supreme Court. Our customs practice is embedded in a broader-based international trade, transport and insurance practice. We combine specialist knowledge in the field of customs, anti-dumping, export control and sanctions legislation with extensive experience in related areas. These include civil liability, contract, insurance, transport and civil procedural law as well as criminal (procedural) law. All communication with our clients is protected from disclosure since it is client-attorney privileged.

Full service

And there is more. Ploum is a full-service law firm. We are specialized not only in the administrative, civil and criminal law related aspects of import and export matters, but also in other relevant areas of law, including:

International network – Greenlane

We are a founding member of the international network Greenlane (www.greenlane.eu). Greenlane (The Alliance of European Customs and Trade Law Firms) is a unique network of the best customs lawyers in EU member states, Brussels and third countries offering multi-jurisdictional legal support in customs and trade matters. Through Greenlane, obtaining advice from local counsel abroad can be easily and quickly arranged, when needed. Ploum – in short – provides a ‘one stop shop’ for all your customs matters, wherever they arise in Europe and the world.

COVID-19 measures

On the occasion of the global health crisis caused by COVID-19, the members of GREENLANE have jointly prepared the attached guide summarizing the most relevant measures adopted by the EU and the national authorities in the countries where the network is present, and which may affect the trade of products. We will periodically supply and update these and other measures of special relevance that could have an impact on your international operations, taking advantage of the coverage provided by our membership in GREENLANE. Furthermore, you will find the contact details of the local Greenlane firm for each country, in case you may need any additional information or further clarification.

If you are interested in obtaining more information about the services that we can offer you through the GREENLANE network, do not hesitate to contact us.

The expertise of Ploum’s team Customs, Trade & Logistics includes:

  • AEO
  • Anti-dumping and countervailing duties
  • Appeal proceedings (customs courts, Dutch Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice)
  • Administrative fines and fiscal penalty orders
  • Authorizations (customs licenses, export and import authorizations)
  • Binding Tariff Information
  • Binding Origin Information
  • Civil law aspects (liability, recourse, seizure, insurance, litigation and arbitration)
  • Compliance projects
  • Corporate investigations
  • Customs forwarding
  • Customs duties
  • Customs procedures (free circulation, transit, bonded warehouse, inward and outward processing)
  • Criminal (procedural) law
  • Direct and indirect representation
  • E-commerce
  • Excise duties
  • Export controls (authorizations, notifications, trial applications, classification requests)
  • Fiscal representation
  • ICC Incoterms
  • Internal Compliance Programs (ICP’s)
  • International Trade
  • IT law, privacy and data security
  • OLAF investigations
  • Origin rules
  • Logistics contracts, general Terms and Conditions
  • Requests for repayment and remission
  • Sanctions legislation
  • Surety agreements, guarantees
  • Tariff classification, tariff management
  • Trademark infringements (anti-piracy and border detention orders)
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Valuation
  • VAT (import, export and intracommunity deliveries)
  • VAT carousel cases
  • Regulations in the field of safety, health, economy & the environment