New export control regulation for the sale of protective equipment against Corona Virus (COVID-19)

In order to ensure that EU member states have sufficient personal protective equipment as well as medi-cal equipment, the European Commission has implemented provisional measures governing authorisation for the export of specific types of personal protective equipment to countries outside the EU. Export com-panies should note that the new measures also include custom codes for other items than medical equipment.

(Updated 8 April 2020) 

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the European Commission has implemented new measures to ensure that EU member states have sufficient personal protective equipment as well as medical equipment in the fight against COVID-19. By the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/402, which entered into force on 15 March 2020, the European Commission has introduced requirements for companies to apply for export authorisation in order to export certain types of personal protective equipment and medical equipment to countries outside the EU. On 21 March 2020 a revised version of the regulation was published
whereby export to the following countries and territories was exempted from the export authorisation requirement: Andorra, the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City The types of protective equipment under the Regulation have been listed in Annex 1 to the Regulation and concern the following product categories:

  • Protective spectacles and visors
  • Face shields
  • Mouth-nose protection equipment
  • Gloves

As a starting point, a product will only be comprised by the Regulation, if it (i) falls under one of the custom codes listed in the Regulation, and (ii) is simultaneously included in the product descriptions appurtenant to the protective equipment comprised by said product categories.

A number of the listed custom codes are so wide that they also comprise products that are not medical equipment. If a company exports products that fall within one or more of the above product categories to countries outside the EU, it is important to investigate whether the products are subject to the new requirements for export authorisation. It is also important to be able to present documentation upon request from relevant authorities, in the case of Denmark, the Danish Business Authority.

In this context, it is important to note whether Annex 1 lists a custom code with a preceding "ex" (e.g. "ex 9004 90 10"), which signifies that the custom code includes other products falling outside the scope of the Regulation than medical equipment. Should the custom code, however, be listed without a preceding "ex" (e.g. "6210 10 92"), all products comprised by the custom code will be subject to the Regulation's requirement for export authorisation.

The Regulation applies provisionally for six weeks as of 15 March 2020 and shall automatically cease to apply at the end of this period.

However, within 12 business days from the date of implementation, the European Commission may decide to extend the restrictions. An extension of the restrictions may include further quantitative export restrictions as well as a continuing requirement for export authorisations.

The European Commission is shortly expected to publish further guidelines for the restrictions comprised by the Regulation.

Please find the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/402 here

Please find the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/426 amending the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/40a here

Application for authorisation to export protective equipment must be sent to the Danish Business Authority via this link

Customs duties and import VAT

On 3 April 2020, the European Commission decided to abolish customs duties and import VAT on medical devices and protective equipment for the purpose of combating COVID-19 with imports from third countries.

The repeal is effective retroactively from 30 January 2020 and is valid for a period of 6 months up to July 31 2020 - with the option of further renewal. The repeal applies to equipment imported by or on behalf of state authorities or disaster relief agencies.

As the repeal takes place retroactively, customs duties and import VAT on already imported goods can be recovered under the general rules.

The European Commission's decision can be read on the commission's website

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