COMMISSION DECISION (EU) 2020/491 of 3 April 2020

 

Relief from import duties and VAT exemption on importation granted for goods needed to combat the effects of COVID-19

  

  1. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. On 11 March 2020 WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. COVID-19 has now provoked infections in all Member States. As the number of cases is increasing alarmingly and due to the lack of means to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, numerous Member States have declared a national state of emergency.

     

  2. In order to combat the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, requests were made for relief from import duties and exemption from value added tax (‘VAT’) on imported goods.

     

  3. The COVID-19 pandemic and the extreme challenges it poses constitute a 'disaster'. It is therefore appropriate to grant a relief for import duties chargeable on goods and an exemption for value added tax (VAT) chargeable on goods imported.

     

  4. The Member States should inform the Commission of the nature and quantities of the various goods admitted free of import duties and VAT with a view to combatting the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, of the organisations they have approved for the distribution or making available of those goods and of the measures taken to prevent the goods from being used for purposes other than to combat the effects of this outbreak.

     

  5. Taking into consideration the extreme challenges that Member States face relief of import duties and exemption of VAT should be granted in respect of importations made from 30 January 2020. The relief should remain in place until 31 July 2020. Before the end of this period, the situation will be reviewed and where necessary, in consultation with the Member States, may be extended.

 

Article 1

 

  1. Goods shall be admitted free of import duties and exempted of value added tax (VAT) on the imports, where the following conditions are fulfilled:

     

    1. the goods are intended for one of the following uses:

       

      a. distribution free of charge by the bodies and organisations referred to in point (c) to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak;

      b. being made available free of charge to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in combating the COVID-19 outbreak while remaining the property of the bodies and organisations referred to in point (c); 

       

    2. the goods satisfy the requirements laid down in Articles 75, 78, 79 and 80 of Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 and Articles 52, 55, 56 and 57 of Directive 2009/132/EC;

       

    3. the goods are imported for release for free circulation by or on behalf of State organisations including State bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law or by or on behalf of organisations approved by the competent authorities in the Member States.

     

  2. Goods shall also be admitted free of import duties, where they are imported for release into free circulation by, or on behalf of, disaster relief agencies in order to meet their needs during the period they provide disaster relief to the persons affected by, or at risk from, COVID-19 or involved in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Article 2

 

Member States shall communicate by 30 November 2020 at the latest the following information to the Commission:

 

  1. a list of organisations approved by the competent authorities in the Member States as referred to in point (c) of Article 1 (1);

     

  2. information regarding the nature and quantities of the various goods admitted free of import duties and VAT pursuant to Article 1;

     

  3. measures taken to ensure compliance with Articles 78, 79 and 80 of Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 and with Articles 55, 56 and 57 of Directive 2009/132/EC with regard to the goods falling under the scope of this Decision.

     

Article 3

Article 1 shall apply to importations made from 30 January 2020 to 31 July 2020.

 

 Article 4

This Decision is addressed to the Member States.

 

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