European Commission approves waiving of customs duties and VAT on medical devices and equipment

epa08334140 An exterior view of European Commission headquarters in European district in Brussels, Belgium, 31 March 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic of the Covid-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Belgium is implementing confinement guidelines for the public which is scheduled to be in place until 19 April 2020. Only supermarkets and essential trade will remain open. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

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The European Commission approved requests from Member States and the UK to temporarily waive customs duties and VAT on the import of medical devices, and protective equipment, from third countries in order to help in the fight against coronavirus. This will make it easier financially to get the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and patients desperately need.

The Commission has swiftly approved requests received from all Member States.

This measure includes masks and protective equipment, as well as testing kits, ventilators and other medical equipment. It will apply for a period of 6 months, with a possibility for further extension.

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy said: “In this emergency it is vital that medical equipment and devices get quickly to where they are needed. By waiving customs and VAT duties on imports of these products from outside the EU, the European Commission will help make those products more accessible. I want to express again my deep respect and gratitude to health workers across Europe. Today’s measure should help them receive the equipment they need to protect themselves and continue saving lives.”

On 20 March 2020, the Commission invited all Member States, as well as the UK, to submit a request to waive customs duties and VAT on the importation of protective and other medical equipment from third countries. All Member States and the UK have done so. Today’s decision takes effect retroactively from 30 January.

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