Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)
Starting from 1 October 2023 designated imported goods from outside the European Union (EU) will fall under new EU regulations: the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). Referred to as CBAM goods. CBAM will be gradually implemented. From 1 October 2023, you will need to report on these goods, and from 1 January 2026, there will be a registration and payment obligation. This page provides you with more information on this matter.
What is CBAM?
CBAM is a price adjustment applied to imports into the EU for designated goods based on their CO2 emissions in the production process outside the EU. The aim of CBAM is to prevent the risk of carbon leakage. Also, by encouraging the reduction of emissions by operators in third countries (countries outside the EU), global carbon emissions should be reduced.
Currently, the EU operates a system where producers within the EU have to purchase emission allowances for the CO2 emissions of their products (EU Emissions Trading System, EU ETS). The CBAM price adjustment ensures that these producers no longer face a competitive disadvantage when importing from third countries with lower climate standards.
To whom does CBAM apply?
CBAM applies to importers of CBAM goods. These are goods in the categories: iron and steel, cement, fertilisers, aluminium, electricity and hydrogen. You can access the list of CBAM goods by searching 'CBAM' on eur-lex.europa.eu/.
The regulation states the "importer" means either the person lodging a customs declaration for release for free circulation of goods in their own name and on their own behalf or, where the customs declaration is lodged by an indirect customs representative in accordance with Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013, the person on whose behalf such a declaration is lodged.
This may involve the following situations:
- If you make your own declarations then you are considered the importer and the obligations under the regulation apply to you.
- If you use direct representation you are regarded as the importer and the obligations under the regulation apply to you and not to your direct representative.
- If you use indirect representation then you have a choice: you must make arrangements with your indirect representative as to who acts as the importer within the meaning of the regulation and thus who must comply with the obligations of the regulation.
- If you not established in the EU then only an indirect representative can act for you as importer of CBAM goods and fulfil the obligations of the regulation for you. You make arrangements in this regard with your indirect representative.
What are the phases of CBAM entry into force?
The entry into force consists of 2 phases:
- the transition phase (from 1 October 2023 to 31 December 2025)
- the overall entry into force (from 1 January 2026)
What changes from 1 October 2023?
From 1 October 2023, the reporting requirement for CBAM goods will apply. Within a month of the end of each quarter, you as an importer must submit a report to the European Commission (EC). This on both the amount of CBAM goods you have imported and the amount of CO2 emitted in the production of those goods. This means that you must submit the 1st report by 31 January 2024 at the latest. The national competent authority, the Dutch Emissions Authority (Nederlandse Emissieautoriteit), together with the EC, carries out monitoring and can enforce if you do not meet the obligations.
On 17 August 2023, the EC published the implementing regulation for the CBAM transition period. In the annexes to this implementing regulation, you will find the requirements that the quarterly reporting must meet and how you must report CO2 emissions released during production.
If you want to know more about the reporting obligation and the content of the quarterly reports then go to the EC website and the Dutch Emissions Authority website. Guidance documents for reporting have been published by the EC for both importers and producers of goods. Webinars and training sessions are also organised.
You submit the quarterly reports to the EC via the provisional CBAM Transitional Registry. The EC will inform you about the use of the provisional CBAM Transitional Registry. It is expected that it will be possible to log into the registry with an eHerkenning digital log in tool. More information on how to log in will follow as soon as more is known.
From 1 October 2023, Customs must inform importers of the mandatory reporting requirement for CBAM goods that will apply from then on. To make sure that you, as an importer of CBAM goods, have taken note of the mandatory reporting requirement, you must fill in a fictitious document code (explained below) with the import declaration of these goods from 1 October 2023. You thereby declare that you are aware of the mandatory reporting requirement for these goods. You do not have to provide a document with the declaration, but you must fill in the document code to make your import declaration. If you do not fill in a fictitious document code, your declaration will not be accepted.
What should you pay attention when completing your declaration?
- In your import declaration, enter the following number under documents:
- 1200With this fictitious document code, you indicate that you are aware of the mandatory reporting requirement for the declared CBAM goods.
With this fictitious document code, you indicate that the CBAM goods you declared are exempt from the mandatory reporting requirement. For example, because the value of the goods is lower than €150.
- If you do not enter a fictitious document code, the declaration will not be accepted and you will receive an error message. You can then adjust the declaration and submit it again.
- In the User Tariff (Gebruikerstarief), for all goods covered by the CBAM regulation, we indicate and explain the conditions of the measure of the required document code.
What changes after a 1 January 2026?
If importers want to import CBAM goods from 1 January 2026, they must be an authorised CBAM declarant. Apply for the authorisation from the competent authority in the country where you are based. In addition, importers of CBAM goods must purchase CO2 certificates from 1 January 2026 to correct the CO2 emitted in the production of the imported goods. As many CO2 certificates must be handed in annually as CO2 was emitted in the production of the imported CBAM goods. 1 certificate thereby equals the emission of 1 tonne of CO2.
Where can you find more information about CBAM?
The details regarding CBAM are still being developed, especially the rules for the period after the transition period. As soon as more is known, you will read about it on this site.