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Trade and Market Information

The Netherlands is a member of the WTO and the OECD, and a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, the Washington Convention, the Basel Convention, the Montreal Protocol and the International Coffee Agreement of 2001.

Trade with the Netherlands is subject to the standards of the European Union, which provides for free trade between member states. However, some sectors are closely monitored and subject to strict rules, such as agriculture or textiles. Products containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) must indicate this on their packaging, for example. Customs duties are generally low (about 4%) and do not apply to trade with other European Union member states. Imports from non-EU countries must complete an Entry Summary Declaration under the SAFE standards for secure trade.

The Dutch retail sector sees large retailers side and small stores side by side, both of which are still very popular with consumers. Discount shops are, meanwhile, a growing trend. The main retail groups are Ahold and Laurus. Maritime freight transport is heavily focused on the port of Rotterdam, which is one of the largest ports in the world, with freight traffic estimated at 480 million tonnes by the year 2020. The Netherlands has a river network of 5,046 km, and river transport is being promoted by the Government. The road network is well developed and maintained but not always well suited to commercial traffic. Government measures have however been implemented to counter these defects.

Dutch customs
Dutch Supermarkets Association
Netherlands International Trade Agency
Chamber of Commerce

Employment Legislation

The working week in the Netherlands is 37 hours, with a minimum monthly gross wage of 1,300 EUR and a retirement age of 67. Social contributions are paid at 15.9% by employers with employees paying 6.45%.

28% of Dutch employees are union members, the main organizations being FNV, CNV and De Unie.

Intellectual Property Regime in the Netherlands

Type of rights Legislation Validity of protection Agreements signed
Patents 1995 patent legislation 10 years, renewable -Patent Cooperation Treaty
– Strasbourg Agreement Concerning International Patent Classification
Brands Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market 10 years, renewable – Trademark Law Treaty
– Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services
– Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Designs Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market 5 years, renewable for a maximum of 25 years
Reproduction rights Copyright 70 years after the author’s death – Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
-Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers
-WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial designs Industrial property 5 years, renewable for a maximum of 25 years

Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Industrial Property and Copyright Office

Netherland’s Political Data

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy where the Queen (Beatrix) fulfills a mainly ceremonial role. Executive power is mainly held by the Prime Minister (Mark Rutte), who holds the position for a term of four years. Legislative power is excercised by the First and Second Chambers, and both may be dissolved by the Government.

The main political parties are:

  • The Christian Democratic Appeal.
  • The Christian Union.
  • The Democrats 66.
  • The Green Left.
  • The Labour Party.
  • The Party for Freedom.
  • The Socialist Party.
  • The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy.
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