EU export measures in response to COVID-19 | Deloitte Netherlands


EU export measures in response to COVID-19

Export of personal protective equipment is subject to authorization

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the European Commission adopted legislation, issued amendments and further guidance concerning export authorization for personal protective equipment (“PPE”).

1st April 2020

Export authorization for PPE

According to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/402 (“the Regulation”), amended by Regulation (EU) 2020/426 published on 20 March 2020, export authorizations are required for exports outside the European Union (EU) of PPE, such as protective masks, garments and gloves. The full list of items subject to export authorizations is outlined in Annex I to the Regulation.

For the export of PPE, an authorization is in principle required, regardless of the destination of export. However, in the amendment to the Regulation, the Commission exempted from this requirement exports to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. A similar exemption has also been provided to export destined for Andorra, the Faroe Islands, San Marino and the Vatican, as well as the associated countries and territories that have special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Relevant procedures for the export of PPE

The competent authorities of individual EU Member States are responsible for the handling of applications and the issuance of export authorizations. The European Commission issued further guidance to the national authorities on the relevant procedures (Commission Guidance).
Applications for an export authorization should be submitted to the national authorities of the individual EU Member State of the applicant (exporter).

The contents of the application form is determined by Member States. For uniformity purposes, Annex I to the Commission’s Guidance however provides a possible application template.
The Commission’s Guidance provides that the national authorities must decide on an application for an export authorization within the period of five working days, which can be extended to a maximum of 10 working days in duly justified cases.

When deciding on the application for an export authorization, the national authorities primarily consider whether granting an authorization would be in line with the objective of ensuring an adequate supply of the PPE within the European Union. Authorizations may therefore be granted where the shipment in question does not pose a threat to the availability of PPE on the market of the Member State in question or elsewhere in the EU. As there currently is a shortage of PPE in the EU, it might be difficult to obtain the authorization.

Increase or decrease in export restrictions?

Germany, France, the Czech Republic and Italy, had national export controls implemented since the beginning of the Corona outbreak , which caused shortage of protective gear. These national regulations even stipulated a limited export to other EU member states and thus formed an exception to the free circulation of goods within the EU. According to the Guidance to the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/402 Members States should revoke any national restrictions imposed to limit exports of PPE to third countries or between Member States within the EU. Therefore, the barriers within the EU as well as with above-mentioned countries should now be gone. So depending on which country you export to, these rules now benefit that population. For instance, German national restrictions on certain PPE were repealed on 19 March 2020. Nevertheless, according to some suppliers, there are still controls at the border from Germany and France to Switzerland for protective gear, which is a matter of enforcement

Additional export controls in other countries

Due to the high demand of PPE and other medical products, there is a worldwide trend of more instead of less national export restrictions. A shortage of certain goods also caused new restrictions and authorization requirements to ensure the availability of PPE in the home country. For instance, Switzerland also decided to implement a license requirement for the export of PPE on 25 March2020, but at the same time issued exemptions for the EU. The Swiss regulation is thus very much in line with the measures adopted by the EU. Another recent example is the amendment of the export policy in India: Indian Notification No. 54 /2015-2020 of 25.03.2020 states that the export of Hydroxychloroquine is prohibited with some few exceptions. Hydroxychloroquine is used for the prevention and treatment of malaria and is also considered to be helpful with the treatment of Covid-19.

Impact on business

Businesses exporting PPE items , such as masks, gowns, gloves, are advised to carefully review whether their products fall within the scope of the export authorization requirement and take into account that I may take several days to obtain the necessary export authorizations.. Also, in limited cases where a national export authorization was required that may no longer be the case. In any case of doubt check with your national export authority or your legal export advisory.

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