Production and export controls on chemical substances

Customs supervises the production and export of dual-use substances, i.e. chemical substances that have a civil application but can also be used in weapons of mass destruction. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) can also carry out inspections in the Netherlands.

Chemical Weapons Convention

The purpose of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is to institute a global, comprehensive and verifiable ban on the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Because the Netherlands does not possess such weapons, nor any installations that can produce them, the repercussions of this convention for the Netherlands are mainly limited to the civil sector. The restrictions that companies must observe appear in the Guide to the Chemical Weapons Convention for Dutch Businesses (in Dutch).

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation serves as the national authority for the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands when it comes to ensuring the effective implementation and observance of the Convention.

OPCW inspections

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is responsible for overseeing whether its constituent states parties have implemented and are observing the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. To this end the OPCW conducts inspections of:

  • chemical plants;
  • chemical trading companies;
  • research centres.

The Chemical Weapons Convention authorises the international OPCW inspectors to enter and inspect facilities. The nature of these inspections depends on the substances being produced, processed or used.

POSS: monitoring compliance with the rules on chemical weapons

The Precursors, Origin, Strategic Goods and Sanctions Legislation (POSS) team, a subdivision of Customs, monitors compliance with the rules on exporting strategic goods and has a special task with regard to dual-use chemicals.  To this end, it carries out inspections at Dutch companies. The POSS team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also accompany the OPCW’s inspection teams in the Netherlands. In this way, the government can ensure that the inspection teams are complying with the relevant regulations.

Chemical substance notifications

Every year, companies are required to submit information (notifications) on the production, processing and trading of certain chemicals. Licences are required for the export of various substances. An explanation of which chemicals are subject to these requirements can be found in Customs’ manual on safety, health, the economy and the environment (Handboek VGEM) (in Dutch). 

Central Import and Export Office (CDIU)

Customs' Central Import and Export Office (CDIU) is the point of contact for companies and organisations on import and export matters. The CDIU plays an important role for companies that produce, process or trade in chemicals. Its tasks include managing the notification process. Companies and agencies can contact the CDIU for forms to apply for exemptions for certain chemical substances. More general information about the CDIU is available on the Tax and Customs Administration’s website. For specific questions, please contact the CDIU on +31 (0)88 151 2122.