EU overview on COVID-19 Customs and Trade measures
31 March 2020
As governments continue to adopt new measures in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, Deloitte professionals are constantly monitoring the latest developments with respect to measures taken in the field of Customs & Trade.
The EU COVID-19 measures that concern Customs & Trade gives us the exact overview of the challenges that countries have to mitigate in order to ensure the availability of goods and essential services.
As the situation can evolve rapidly and imply further guidance on additional issues, Deloitte will be providing you with frequent updates so that you can stay in tune with the latest developments.
I. Commission COVID-19 guidelines on the application of customs provisions relating to the customs decision-making process, customs procedures and customs formalities during the COVID-19 emergency.
As a result of the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, questions have emerged concerning the application of customs provisions relating to the customs decision-making process, customs procedures and customs formalities. For these particular cases, a number of existing provisions have been identified that provide valid solutions in these exceptional circumstances. The guidance to the concerned stakeholders on practical solutions given by the current legal framework, can be found at the following link:
II. 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 EU Member States. The Commission Guidelines recognize 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.
III. 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.
IV. Commission Guidelines on Facilitating Air Cargo Operations during COVID-19 outbreak
The Commission Guidelines contain operational and organizational steps to keep essential transport flows moving, including medical supplies and personnel. In particular, EU Members states should:
· grant temporary traffic rights for additional cargo operations from outside the EU if restrictions would normally apply, even if these cargo operations are conducted with passenger aircraft;
· temporarily remove night curfews and/or slot restrictions at airports for essential air cargo operations, and to facilitate the use of passenger aircraft for cargo-only operations;
· ensure that open airports maintain sufficient air cargo handling capabilities to ensure timely treatment and delivery.
V. Export of certain medical protective products subject to an export authorization
In order to combat the Coronavirus outbreak, the Commission made the exportation of certain personal protective equipment from the EU subject to an export authorization. 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 authorization 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 authorizations are issued by the Member States’ authorities. The Commission provided practical guidance on the processes and procedures relevant for granting such authorizations. In principle, Member States may continue to grant export authorizations 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.
VI. 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.