Coronavirus: Commission waives customs duties and VAT on the import of medical equipment from non-EU countries


(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

The Commission has today decided to approve 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.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered a video message on today’s decision. Watch it here.

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.


Current EU legislation has exceptional tools available in order to help victims of disasters, which can be used to face the unprecedented health crisis caused by coronavirus.

EU customs legislation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009) provides for the possibility to grant duty relief for the “benefit of disaster victims”. It can be applied to imports by State organisations or approved charitable or philanthropic organisations. To grant relief, a decision from the Commission is required, acting at the request of the Member States concerned.

Similarly, EU VAT law (Council Directive 2009/132/EC) has mirroring provisions as regards exemption from VAT on the final importation of certain goods.


the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

African migration: what the numbers really tell us

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

The world’s largest bus system is starting to go electric

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

We need to protect 30% of the planet by 2030. This is how we can do it

How AI and satellite imaging can stamp out modern slavery

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

Pakistan: a long road ahead

5 neuroscience hacks that will make you happier

Coronavirus has ‘pandemic potential’ – but what is a pandemic?

5 ways to boost sustainable trade in the world’s poorest countries

5 facts about the world’s most valuable company, Saudi Aramco

Everything you need to know about the US government shutdown

Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

Q&A on extraordinary remote participation procedure

EU Court of Justice invalidates Safe Harbour and the game for thousands US businesses suddenly changes

China has announced ambitious plans to cut single-use plastic

Deadly life at sea: UN partners spotlight depths of danger in fishing industry

UN welcomes Angola’s repeal of anti-gay law, and ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation

These are the world’s best universities for recycling and sustainability

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Bicycles for the environment, new leader for the UN General Assembly, UN values, Ebola, Syria and Libya

Why Nordic nations are the best places to have children

International tourism is set to plunge by 80% this year – but some regions could recover more quickly

Personalized healthcare and better population health? Here’s how digital can help achieve that

COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, UN health agency reveals

OECD sees global growth slowing, as Europe weakens and risks persist

A safer, more dignified journey for all migrants, tops agenda at global conference in Marrakech

We’ll succeed together

Coronavirus has shown us why we urgently need to make a basic income a reality

They won this year’s Nobel for economics. Here’s why their work matters

Inequality triggered protests across Latin America. Here’s how the youth can help

Coronavirus: European roadmap shows path towards common lifting of containment measures

The Syrian knot cannot be cut without devastating consequences

Should tech companies pay us for our data?

Why is Grexit again in the news? Who is to pay for Eurozone’s banking problems?

The result of European Elections 2019 seals the end of the business as usual era in Brussels

We are stronger than this pandemic (COVID-19)

Children paying a high price for inequality

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

Mental health in midst of a pandemic: can we help?

An overview of the Tobacco Control Measures in India: problems and solutions

Unity, regional cooperation and international support needed for Horn of Africa to develop sustainably

Why the next 4 months are crucial to the future of the ocean

Air quality: Commission takes action to protect citizens from air pollution

MWC 2016 LIVE: Telenor CEO calls on operators to embrace Mobile Connect initiative

Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest disappearing cities

The EU Consumer Policy on the Digital Market: A Behavioral Economics View

“China is the only BRICS country to have either met or possibly slightly surpassed my expectations”, BRICS inventor Jim O’ Neil from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Veteran public official from Portugal elected to lead UN migration agency

UN’s Grandi slams ‘toxic language of politics’ aimed at refugees, migrants

The EU-US trade agreement, victim of right-wing extremists and security lunatics

Thought AIs could never replace human imagination? Think again

European Semester 2019 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth

COVID-19: Stopping the rise in domestic violence during lockdown

The European Sting at the Retail Forum for Sustainability live from Barcelona

Missile strike kills at least 12 civilians, including children, in Syria’s Idlib: UN humanitarians

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

Government internet ban leaves parts of Myanmar ‘in a blackout’, UN expert calls for immediate lifting

To retire at 65, American millennials need to save almost half their paycheck

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s