When importing goods from outside the European Union into a European country, import VAT has to be paid literally at the border. It may often take weeks or even months before this import VAT is reimbursed by the tax authorities.
When importing the goods into the Netherlands (for further distribution into Europe) a non-resident trader can avoid paying import VAT at the border. This requires appointing a fiscal representative in the Netherlands and applying for a so-called article 23 license.
To appoint a Fiscal Representative, the non-resident trader has to provide security towards the Dutch tax authorities. After providing the proper amount of security, the Dutch tax authorities will communicate all Dutch VAT issues through the fiscal representative. The Fiscal Representative will submit the VAT returns, the European Sales Lists and the Intrastat declarations for you. After appointing a Fiscal Representative the trader still remains responsible for complying with legal obligations and also remains a non-resident.