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Coronavirus: European Commission waives customs duties and VAT on the import of medical equipment from non-EU countries

The European Commission announced specific VAT and Customs measures for the importation of medical equipment into the EU. The announcement underlines the urgency for countries to ensure that there is sufficient possibilities and materials available to effectively cope with the global pandemic.

The Commission has today decided to approve requests from Member States and the UK to temporarily waive customs duties and VAT on the import of medical devices, and protective equipment, from third countries in order to help in the fight against coronavirus. The Commission has swiftly approved requests received from all Member States.

This measure includes masks and protective equipment, as well as testing kits, ventilators and other medical equipment. It will apply for a period of 6 months, with a possibility for further extension.

The statement from the EU commission includes the following:

“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.”

Watch President von der Leyen’s video message in English, French and German

Source European Union

Commission Decision 2020/491

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