The European Commission has decided to waive tariffs and value-added taxes (VAT) on certain medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE) coming from outside the EU during the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure includes testing kits, ventilators and other medical equipment and will remain in force for six months, the commission said today.
“In this emergency, it is vital that medical equipment and devices get quickly to where they are needed,” said economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni in a news release. “By waiving customs and VAT duties on imports of these products from outside the EU, the European Commission will help make these products more accessible.”
The commission on March 20 had invited all member states plus the United Kingdom to submit a request to waive customs and VAT duties on PPE, testing kits and ventilators. They all did so, prompting today’s move by the commission.
EU customs legislation and tax law allow for granting such relief for the “benefit of disaster victims,” but the commission must make the decision to allow it.