Global Trade Advisory Update on the COVID-19 Measures

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Global Trade Advisory Update on the COVID-19 Measures

European Union and Dutch Customs Take Action

The European Union responded to the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak with a series of measures. The Dutch customs authorities decided to further postpone the enforcement of the amended definition of exporter.

24 March 2020

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Dutch customs authorities further postpone the enforcement of the amended definition of exporter.

Statement from the Dutch customs authorities on the enforcement of the amended definition of exporter

The Dutch customs authorities officially confirmed that they will further postpone the enforcement of the requirement for companies to be established in the EU in order to act as exporter. Previously, the enforcement of that requirement was set to begin on 1 April 2020. This date is now postponed to the 15th day of the month following the month in which the Dutch authorities will cease the COVID-19 measures. Until then, non-EU established companies may continue to be mentioned as the “exporter” of goods in Box 2 of the customs export declaration.

Read the full statement here.

Commission COVID-19 guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services

The European Commission (Commission) issued the COVID-19 guidelines on border measures to the European Union (EU) Member States. The Commission Guidelines recognise that individual Member States are allowed to take protective measures against the COVID-19. However any such measures must be transparent, proportionate, relevant and mode-specific, as well as non-discriminatory.

Member States should preserve the free circulation of all goods and guarantee the supply chain of essential products such as medicines, medical equipment, essential and perishable food products and livestock. No restriction should be imposed on the circulation of goods in the Single Market, especially (but not limited to) essential, health-related and perishable goods, notably foodstuffs, unless duly justified. Member States should designate priority lanes for freight transport (e.g. via “green lanes”) and consider waiving existing weekend bans.

Professional travel to ensure transport of goods and services should be enabled. This concerns the facilitation of safe movement for transport workers, including truck and train drivers, pilots and aircrew, across internal and external borders.

Any planned transport-related restrictions should be notified to the Commission and other Member States.

No additional certifications should be imposed on goods legally circulating within the EU single market.

Read the full text of the Commission Guidelines here.

Commission guidance on the implementation of the Green Lanes under the Guidelines for border management measures

The Commission issued further practical guidance to the Members States on the implementation of the Green Lanes envisaged in its Guidelines for border management measures.

In case internal border controls exist or have been introduced, Member States should designate immediately the most important internal border-crossing points as “green lane” border crossings – for land (road and rail), sea and air transport.

Going through the “green lane” border crossings, including any checks and health screening of transport workers, should not exceed 15 minutes on internal land borders.

The “green lane” border crossings should be open to all freight vehicles carrying any type of goods.

Member States should act immediately to temporarily suspend all types of road access restrictions in place in their territory (week-end bans, night bans, sectoral bans, etc.) for road freight transport and for the necessary free movement of transport workers.

Read the full text of the Commission guidance here.

Export of certain medical protective products subject to an export authorisation

In order to combat the Coronavirus outbreak, the Commission made the exportation of certain personal protective equipment from the EU subject to an export authorisation. The measure entered into effect on 15 March 2020 and will remain in force for six weeks. The list of products covered by the measure is provided in Annex I of the Commission Implementing Regulation and includes such products as protective masks, garments and gloves.

In an amendment to its Implementing Regulation, the Commission exempted from the authorisation requirement exports to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. A similar exemption is also being granted to 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.

Export authorisations are issued by the Member States’ authorities. The Commission provided practical guidance on the processes and procedures relevant for granting such authorisations. In principle, Member States may continue to grant export authorisations where no threat is posed to the availability of personal protective equipment on the market of the Member State in question or elsewhere in the EU.

Read the full text of the Commission Implementing Regulation here.

Read the full text of the amendment to the Commission Implementing Regulation here.

Read the full text of the Commission Guidance here.

Impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations

According to the announcement of the Commission, the COVID-19 outbreak will affect anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations. This particularly concerns on-spot verification visits and time-limits for responding to questionnaires and requests for information.

(i) On-spot verification visits. The Commission decided to suspend all non-essential travel to the affected areas and to postpone all face-to-face meetings with visitors from these areas.

(ii) Time-limits for responding to questionnaires and requests for information. For businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Commission noted the possibility of extending the deadline by 7 days upon a reasoned request by the affected party. The Commission further recognized that the COVID-19 outbreak is an unforeseen event constituting force majeure likely to impede the affected economic entities from complying with the relevant deadlines for submission of information.

Read the full announcement here.

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