EU Export Controls for Personal Protection Equipment

The European Commission has introduced emergency export controls on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, gowns and eyewear.

This measure is intended to assist EU health authorities in responding to the Covid-19 outbreak by protecting the supplies of PPE within the EU. These controls came into force on 16 March 2020 and will apply for a period of six weeks.

Full details of how the controls operate are set out in the Commission Implementing Regulation.

The categories of PPE items subject to control are listed in Annex I of the Regulation. It includes gloves, protective spectacles and visors, face shields, mouth-nose protection and protective garments. Prior authorisation will be required in order to export items on the list to countries outside the EU.

The Commission has also issued guidelines to assist businesses in the practical implementation of the Regulation

The Regulation does not restrict the free circulation of these items within the single market. Furthermore, the Regulation will not apply to exports to the UK for the duration of the Brexit Transition Period.

Exports to the following countries are also exempted from the Regulation: Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Andorra, the Faroe Islands, San Marino, the Vatican City and the countries and territories listed in Annex II of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

Businesses wishing to export items on the list outside the EU must apply to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation for authorisation. Applications for an export authorisation must be made using the official application form below. A scanned copy of the signed form should be submitted by email to the Department at

Applications will be processed within a period of five working days from the date on which all required information has been provided to the Department. The Department may extend that period by a further five working days in exceptional circumstances. There is no charge for the issuing of authorisations.

Published by EU Affairs, Trade Policy and Licensing

Topics: Export Licences, Trade and Investment, COVID-19 Supports

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