In view of the increasingly daunting COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting declaration of national state of emergency in various Member States, on the 3rd April, the European Commission published a decision, whereby customs duties and VAT on the importation of certain essential medical equipment, will be temporarily suspended. This is intended to make it easier and cheaper for Member States and also the UK, to acquire medical equipment which is vital to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision of the European Commission will be applicable in relation to protective equipment, testing kits and medical devices such as ventilators, imported into the European Union and the UK between 30 January 2020 and 31 July 2020, with the possibility for a further extension. In this respect, medical equipment will be imported free from import duties and exempted from VAT, if the following conditions are met:
1. The goods are intended for distribution free of charge by:
A) State organisations (state bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law including hospitals, governmental organisations, communes/towns, regional governments, etc.);
B) Charitable or philanthropic organisations approved by the competent authorities of the Member States and the UK
2. The goods are included in the indicative list provided by the European Commission.
In light of the above, by the 30 November 2020 all Member states and the UK are to provide the European Commission with the nature and quantities of the medical equipment admitted free of import duties and VAT in their country, a list of organisations they have approved for the distribution of those goods and of the measures taken to prevent the goods from being used for purposes other than to combat the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Publication date: 10/04/2020