EU measures for import VAT and customs duties during COVID-19 pandemic

16/04/2020 Temporary suspension of import VAT and customs duties for goods to help combat the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The European Commission has published a decision supporting Member States affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to temporarily suspend customs duties and VAT on protective equipment, testing kits or medical devices such as ventilators.

These measures will facilitate the financing of the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and patients desperately need. The measures will apply for a period of six months, with a possibility for a further extension.

In a nutshell, the exemption applies to goods distributed free of charge by appointed entities to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in combating the COVID-19 outbreak, or to goods being made available free of charge while remaining the property of those entities.

Publication of classification list for COVID-19 medical supplies issued

To respond to the unprecedented demand in medical supplies amid the current global COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to help countries speed up the cross-border movement of these critical products, the HS Classification Reference for COVID-19 Medical Supplies (the list) was updated and published by the World Customs Organization.

The initial list contained the classification of essential products needed such as: COVID-19 diagnostic test kits and masks, certain protective personal equipment and medical devices such as ventilators and ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and consumables and disinfectant products that may be used for the prevention and treatment of the disease.  The latest edition expands this list to cover a greater range of medical equipment and supplies that are required as critical items by the World Health Organization, such as oxygen concentrators and sample collection sets.

The updated list is provided as an indicative list with a view to facilitating the classification of COVID-19 medical supplies at the international level (6 digit of the HS).
Need to know more? Please contact Mazars’ International Trade Vision – Customs & VAT group with specialist advisors.