Duties, VAT on medical items from third countries waived

This temporary measure will apply at least for four months, but takes effect retroactively from 30 January

Photo: EU Ursula von der Leyen.

The EU is eliminating certain taxes on the import of medical devices and equipment coming from third countries at least up to August this year, or for four months. The Commission approved on Friday afternoon requests from Member States and the UK to temporarily waive customs duties and VAT on this import in order to help in the fight against pandemic.

The decision takes effect retroactively from 30 January. This reduces the prices and facilitates getting the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and patients urgently need.

Commenting on the decision, EC President Ursula von der Leyen stressed that it contributes to easing the pressure on prices for medical and protective equipment and making them more affordable. She gave an example that in Italy, customs duties of 12% and a VAT of 22% is levied on some facemasks or protective garments that are imported from countries like China and the new decision will make them one third cheaper. VAT for ventilators is 20% and hospitals will save money and will be able to buy more ventilators.

She also stressed that this temporary measure can apply even longer that four months, if it is necessary. We stand by our health workers and hospitals and we will do all we can to help them further, she said.

Two weeks ago, the Commission invited all EU countries and the UK, to submit a request to waive customs duties and VAT on the importation of protective and other medical equipment from third countries. 

Similar articles