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Press Release- EU Commission waives Customs duties and VAT on the import of medical equipment from non-EU countries



The European Commission has published a 
decision to help Member States affected by the coronavirus pandemic to temporarily suspend customs duties and VAT on protective equipment, testing kits or medical devices such as ventilators. The measures outlined in this Decision will apply for a period of six months, with a possibility for further extension.

Background Information
Current EU legislation has exceptional tools available in order to help victims of disasters, which can be used to face the unprecedented health crisis caused by coronavirus.

EU customs legislation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009) provides for the possibility to grant duty relief for the “benefit of disaster victims”. It can be applied to imports by State organisations or approved charitable or philanthropic organisations. To grant relief, a decision from the Commission is required, acting at the request of the Member States concerned.

Similarly, EU VAT law (Council Directive 2009/132/EC) has mirroring provisions as regards exemption from VAT on the final importation of certain goods.

The Commission decision will be applicable from 30 January 2020 until 31 July 2020. This allows for specific imports carried out during the incipient phase of the outbreak to also benefit from the exemption.

The duty and VAT relief applies to imports by:

  • state organisations (state bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law including hospitals, governmental organisations, communes/towns, regional governments, etc.)
  • charitable or philanthropic organisations approved by the competent authorities of the Member States

For more information