covid-19 export controls

EU export restrictions for Coronavirus personal protective equipment (PPE)

Overview of EU regulations on export authorizations for personal protective equipment as temporary measure to ensure essential Coronavirus-supplies in the EU.

Coronavirus: Protecting EU citizens & health systems

Exports of personal protective equipment (PPE) outside of the European Union are subject to export authorization requirements effective March 15, 2020. The EU Commission released relevant Implementing Regulations as a temporary measure to ensure the continued supply of critical equipment for EU members states during the Coronavirus emergency. 

It is important to note that the new regulation does not constitute an export ban and is in line with all of the EU’s international obligations. Export authorizations may still be granted where no threat is posed to the availability of relevant equipment for EU member states, and various special circumstances have been considered.

Considerations have also been taken into account to support the activities of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network (GOARN) and a number of other international initiatives to stop the spread of Coronavirus and manage impacts in affected areas. 

This new regulation is also meant to replace any similar national export authorization measures or export bans that had been put in place by individual EU member states in light of Coronavirus developments prior to the new EU regulation.

You can find the original EU regulation including its amendment of March 19, 2020 in the following links. And we have summarized some key points for you in the following section. 

EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/402

EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/426

Export restrictions and authorizations: Exemptions

The production processes and distribution networks for medical and personal protective equipment to limit the spread of Coronavirus extend beyond the boundaries of the European Union. They especially involve the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which is why they have been exempt from the new export authorization requirements:

  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland 

A similar exemption has been granted to:

  • Andorra
  • The Faroe Islands
  • San Marino
  • The Vatican
  • As well as associated countries and territories with special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom (so-called Annex II countries) 

These exemptions are in effect since March 21, 2020. 

New export controls for Coronavirus PPE: Materials

Protective equipment that the new export restrictions currently apply to are listed in ANNEX I of the new regulation as follows: 

Category and CN Code

Protective spectacles and visors

  • ex 9004 90 10
  • ex 9004 90 90

Description

  • Protection against potentially infectious material,
  • Encircling the eyes and surroundings,
  • Compatible with different models of filtering facepiece (FFP) masks and facial masks,
  • Transparent lens,
  • Reusable (can be cleaned and disinfected) or single-use items

Category and CN Code

Face shields 

  • ex 3926 90 97
  • ex 9020 00 00


Description

  • Equipment for the protection of the facial area and associated mucous membranes (ex: eyes, nose, mouth) against potentially infectious material,
  • Includes a visor of transparent material,
  • Usually includes fixations to secure over the face (e.g.: bands, temples)
  • Can include a mouth-nose protection equipment as described below,
  • Reusable (can be cleaned and disinfected) or disposable

Category and CN Code

Mouth-nose-protection equipment

  • ex 6307 90 98
  • ex 9020 00 00

Description

  • Masks for the protection of the wearer against potentially infectious material and for the protection of the environment against potentially infectious material spread by the wearer,
  • Can include a face shield as described above,
  • Whether or not equipped with a replaceable filter

Category and CN Code

Protective garments

  • ex 3926 20 00
  • ex 4015 90 00
  • ex 6113 00
  • ex 6114
  • ex 6210 10 10
  • 6210 10 92
  • ex 6210 10 98
  • ex 6210 20 00
  • ex 6210 30 00
  • ex 6210 40 00
  • ex 6210 50 00
  • ex 6211 32 10
  • ex 6211 32 90
  • ex 6211 33 10
  • ex 6211 33 90
  • ex 6211 39 00
  • ex 6211 42 10
  • ex 6211 42 90
  • ex 6211 43 10
  • ex 6211 43 90
  • ex 6211 49 00
  • ex 9020 00 00

Description

  • Garment (e.g. gown, suit) for the protection of the wearer against potentially infectious material and for the protection of the environment against potentially infectious material spread by the wearer

Category and CN Code

Gloves

  • ex 3926 20 00
  • 4015 11 00
  • ex 4015 19 00
  • ex 6116 10 20
  • ex 6116 10 80
  • ex 6216 00 00 

Description

  • Gloves for the protection of the wearer against potentially infectious material and for the protection of the environment against potentially infectious material spread by the wearer