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Coronavirus: President von der Leyen on waiving customs duties and VAT on the import of medical equipment from non-EU countries

“Our hospitals, doctors and nurses need medical equipment, such as ventilators or testing kits, to treat patients and save lives. And they need equipment – masks, gloves, overalls - to protect themselves from contamination. We need a lot of this equipment. And it can be expensive. That is why today we accepted to eliminate, for a while, certain taxes on the import of medical devices and equipment from countries that are outside the European Union. This is good for hospitals and for charities for example. This is our contribution to easing the pressure on prices for medical and protective equipment. And to making them more affordable.

To give an example: in Italy, customs duties of 12% and a value added tax of 22% is levied on some facemasks or protective garments that we import from countries like China. Our decision will make them one third cheaper.

For ventilators the average value added tax rate is 20%. There too, hospitals will save money and will be able to buy more ventilators.

This is a temporary measure and will apply for at least the next four months. Or longer, if necessary. We stand by our health workers and hospitals and we will do all we can to help them further.”

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