Reed Smith Client Alerts

When countries around the world began instituting lockdowns in response to the spread of COVID-19, we wrote about initial steps that the European Union had taken, and that the United States was expected to take, in order to improve access to healthcare items. Since then, the EU has further developed its export program and the U.S. has issued substantive controls specifically relating to COVID-19.

Authors: Leigh T. Hansson Noah T. Jaffe Yves Melin Maria Ottermann Bérengère Vigneron

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EU restrictions

In early March 2020, amid the crisis caused by COVID-19 and concerns about the availability of personal protective equipment, a number of European countries, inter alia Germany and France, started to introduce national restrictions with respect to the intra-EU and extra-EU export of medicines and medical equipment such as face masks, gloves and protective clothing.

In response to the national measures, on Sunday 15 March 2020, the Commission itself introduced export restrictions on personal protective equipment (including mouth-nose-protection equipment, gloves, and other protective garments) whether or not originating in the EU, to destinations outside the EU, unless an authorization is granted bya Member State (Reg. (EU) 2020/402), see eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content).

Urged by the EU’s emphasis on the principle of solidarity between EU member states, and the integrity of the EU single market for goods, France withdrew its national measure on March 23 2020 (see legifrance.gouv.fr), and Germany on 19 March 2020 (see bundesanzeiger.de), with Germany stressing at the same time that it would consider reviewing the situation regularly.

The Reg. (EU) 2020/402 entered into force on 15 March 2020 and applied for a period of six weeks, up until 25 April 2020.