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Germany lifts Covid-19 prompted export ban for personal protective equipment

Author
Zhuleku Eda
Eda Zhuleku

Counsel

Munich

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19 March 2020

Today the German Government lifted the export ban for personal protective equipment, including protective masks, that had been instated by the general decree (Allgemeinverfügung) dated 4 March 2020 as amended on 12 March 2020.

The purpose of the export ban (to both EU and non-EU countries) was to secure the supply of personal protective equipment in Germany. Exceptions were foreseen only under strict conditions.

The decree has now been lifted since the European Commission implemented a Regulation ((EU) 2020/402) establishing an EU-wide export ban for personal protective equipment to third countries (see our previous blog post: “EU takes measures to regulate distribution of medical supplies in response to Covid-19”). However, the Ministry of Economy and Energy stated that it will keep monitoring the situation and specifically reserved the right to reinstate such ban should this become necessary to ensure sufficient supplies of “essential goods” to the German population.

Consequently, exports within the EU are thus no longer subject to approval by the competent national authorities in Germany.  German manufacturers of personal protective equipment will therefore be able to supply such equipment to other countries in need.  The lifting of the export ban also means that German manufacturers/suppliers may need to honour their existing contracts with foreign companies and could no longer invoke the ban as Force Majeure and/or legal impossibility.