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Relief from import duties and VAT exemption on importation of personal protective equipment

01 May 2020
Customs - Customs, Trade & Logistics - Corona/COVID-19 Helpdesk

In view of the extreme challenges that Member States face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has decided to exempt import duties and VAT on personal protective equipment (“PPE”).

In any case, this concerns oral masks that fall under the standards FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. In addition, the exemption applies to surgical masks, safety goggles, aprons, examination gloves and diagnostic tests. This list is not exhaustive. These are just a few examples.

In order to qualify for the import exemption, an authorisation must be requested for each consignment from customs.

The exemption only applies to government institutions, charities or philanthropic institutions and aid organizations such as hospitals, care institutions and care providers that are registered in the BIG register. These organizations and institutions must apply for an authorisation themselves.

Finally, organizations and institutions must use the protective equipment themselves, make it available to corona patients free of charge or use it for their treatment.

The exemption applies (with retroactive effect) to personal protective equipment that has been or will be imported between January 30 and July 31, 2020.

The exemption is regulated by Commission Decision (EU) 2020/491.

The Dutch text states that the exemption applies to goods that are imported from January 30, 2020 to July 31, 2020. In the English text of the Decision, the exemption applies to: “importations made from 30 January 2020 to 31 July 2020.

This means that an authorisation could also be applied for retrospectively for personal protective equipment that has already been imported and for which customs duties and VAT have been paid on import. After an authorisation has been issued, a refund request can be made.