Due to the measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many questions arise about the export of goods from Belgium and within the European Union. The Belgian Foreign Trade Agency regularly informs and updates Belgian companies about certain rules and guidelines in the form of "legal alerts".
Below you will find some of our latest legal alerts:
Guidelines for the use of the public procurement framework
On March 31, the European Commission published guidelines on how to use all the flexibility offered by the EU procurement framework in the context of the emergency situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The guidelines provide an overview of the procurement procedures for public purchasers, the applicable deadlines, and examples of how administrations can find alternative solutions and ways to approach the corporate world to deliver much-needed medical supplies. This guidance makes it easier for public purchasers to provide essential protective equipment and medical supplies to those in need by making it easier to carry out public procurement contracts while maintaining high safety and quality standards.
"Below is a message from our embassy in Beijing - Source: FPS Foreign Affairs - Directorate-General for Bilateral Affairs - Economic Interests - B3"
Subject: The Chinese social credit system in times of COVID-19
A webinar hosted by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) on the impact of the corporate social credit system (SCS) on SMEs and its implications in times of COVID-19 shows that the system is here to stay and that mainly local governments are linking things to the corona crisis that were previously ineligible.
At the central level, there was a pause in policy making regarding SCS prior to the crisis. At lower levels of government, however, there is an increase in the number of measures. Various trends are emerging:
- Bad behavior is punished, not only for individuals (breaking quarantine, lying about health status, spreading rumors, etc.) but also for government officials (impeding information flows, slow or lying reporting, etc.) and companies (hoarding, raising prices, selling fake products etc.). Penalties for companies can include being placed on the watchlist or blacklist of these companies or their legal representatives, exclusion from participation in government contracts, limited access to financial grants.
- Good behavior is rewarded. Individuals who are going to help in the hard-hit Hubei province and who are on the front line of prevention activities can count on extra points. For companies, this involves the production and transport of necessary medical equipment, donations, contributions to market stability, temporary switch-over of production, etc.
- There is a wide range of locally widely varying SCS support measures, with a focus on avoiding blacklisting companies. For example, in several places there is an exemption from road tax for vehicles transporting emergency aid or first responders and local authorities help restore credit points by providing proof of 'force majeur' and by offering legal assistance ('help enterprises repair credit'). The list of local support measures is very long and varied.
What does this mean for companies?
- Companies that want to put themselves in the spotlight and have the opportunity to do something extra can now collect extra social credits.
- In case of financial or other difficulties, one can check whether the local government has implemented emergency measures.
It was already clear that the social credit system is being used as an additional means of enforcing government policies. But linking COVID-19 measures to the SCS also shows that its boundaries are not clearly defined, which local governments are eagerly taking advantage of. The consequences of this will only become fully clear after the corona crisis."
In view of the current crisis situation, countries worldwide are taking all kinds of measures that affect international trade in goods. The World Customs Organization (WCO) provides a list with national measures of countries that impose temporary export restrictions on certain categories of medical supplies.
In addition, the WCO provides information on tools, initiatives and databases that you can use to address the various COVID-19-related challenges. You can consult the overview here.
Finally, on the website of the European Commission, you can find information about the measures taken by the Member States specifically in the field of transport and border controls."
“Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services. The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the challenge of protecting the health of the population whilst avoiding disruptions to the free movement of persons, and the delivery of goods and essential services across Europe. The guidelines set out principles for an integrated approach to an effective border management to protect health while preserving the integrity of the Single Market.” Source: European Commission
“Prohibition of export of medical personal protective equipment without an export license - crisis situation caused by the coronavirus, the General Administration of Customs & Excise (AAD&A) will monitor this ban very strictly. Any export of goods against the requirements of the said implementing regulation is considered a serious violation by the AAD&A.” Source: Forum National
"Update and new rules for export licenses for the export of medical personal protective equipment." Source : Forum National