Customs duty and import VAT in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has made a statement concerning customs duty and import VAT in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is available here.

In response to the pandemic, all EU Member States and the UK requested the lifting of customs duties and VAT on imports of necessary medical equipment.  On 3 April 2020, the European Commission decided that duty and VAT should be suspended from 30 January until 31 July 2020.  The period of suspension may be extended.

In order to benefit from the suspension it is necessary to comply with the conditions set out in the decision which is available here.

The suspension is intended to cover protective equipment, testing kits and devices such as respirators and ventilators. An indicative list of goods covered is available here.

The suspension applies in relation to "state organisations", including state and public bodies as well as other bodies governed by public law such as hospitals. Certain charitable or philanthropic organisations will also be covered.

More general trade guidance from the European Commission on customs and the COVID-19 emergency is available here