Current portal location

Website content

News archive

Enforcement | Brussels, 7 April 2020

EU ensures transparency towards its trade partners on coronavirus-related actions

Today, the EU notified to the World Trade Organization steps it has taken aimed at supporting the fight against coronavirus. This notification follows a recent commitment by G20 members to provide full transparency of all policies that affect international trade.

The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented global health challenge, which also has a serious impact on the global economy. Trade policy has a crucial role to play in addressing both.

The number one objective is to address the immediate public health crisis. In order to do that, the EU seeks to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders. To that effect, the EU has taken action at its level to facilitate trade flows, as well as a time-limited requirement to authorise exports for vital personal protective equipment.

The WTO has become a focal point of transparency on countries’ trade measures related to coronavirus. To ensure transparency, the EU is both making formal WTO notifications – under the Trade Facilitation and SPS Agreements, as well as the Decision on Notifying Quantitative Restrictions – and submitting additional information to the WTO.

In this context, the EU has today informed the WTO about eight steps, either new measures or guidance covering existing legislation, taken in the context of the coronavirus crisis. This includes various fields of action touching upon various aspects of international trade operations, such as:

- Import duty and VAT relief on products needed to fight coronavirus
- Border management, including Green Lanes to ensure availability of essential goods and services
- Facilitation of air cargo operations
- Human, animal and plant health and animal welfare measures to contain risks linked to control system disruptions due to coronavirus
- Public procurement guidance relating to emergency provisions in current legislation to allow for quicker purchasing of necessary goods
- Export authorisation requirements to support the adequacy of supply and meet vital demand for personal protective equipment in the EU

Consistent with its G20 commitments, the EU is also making sure that emergency measures aimed at protecting health will be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary.

The EU remains fully committed to an open trade and investment environment. That is the only way we can minimise the economic and social damage from the coronavirus pandemic and ultimately restore global growth.


More information

EU acts notified to the WTO:


Remarks by Commissioner Hogan at the G20 Virtual Ministerial
, 30 March 2020
Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit Statement on COVID-19, 26 March 2020