Colombia’s government, after declaring a state of economic, social & ecological emergency, has restricted exports of 24 products deemed necessary domestically to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic in the country.
Colombia’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism José Manuel Restrepo, explained that as there has been a high demand for these products that are required domestically for attending Colombian patients, the measures are taken to ensure supply.
“We are going through a health situation that leads us to adopt different measures to contain this pandemic, and the restriction on the export of these products is one of those measures that is also allowed by the World Trade Organization, of which we are part. This body allows exceptional, temporary restrictions on exports to prevent or control the shortage of products, in this case essential for health,” said the minister.
The regulation, Decree 462 of March 22, 2020 also establishes that both producers and importers of these goods must prioritize their distribution to the following beneficiaries:
- Health Service Provider Institutions that have a neonatal, pediatric or adult or hospitalization, adult or pediatric or emergency intensive or intermediate care unit and those authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection
- Urban mass transport companies
- Airlines and ground transport companies
- Airports and transport terminals
- Government, national, departmental and municipal entities
- State security forces, fire and civil defense
- Delivery companies and direct-to-home marketers. These companies will limit the retail sale of these products to two units per household, per week.
- Drugstores, department stores and retail marketers, as long as the sale is limited to two units per family group per week.
- Legal persons and companies, authorized by the government, provided that the sale is limited to the units necessary to attend to the number of employees or personnel necessary for their operation, for a week.
The rule also states that in the case of older adults, the purchase of products in commercial establishments at home and in drugstores may be made by a family member or the person who cares for him.
The Decree restricts the export or re-export of goods such as latex medical gloves, protective glasses, electrocardiographs, vital sign monitors, neonatal cribs, ventilators, respiratory devices and respiratory protection masks, X-ray equipment and beds. and hospital stretchers. Also, alcohol, soap, toilet paper, gloves for medical or care use, other medicines for human use, disinfectants, damp cloths and towels, antibacterial gel, face masks of various types and medical equipment of various types are some of the goods that may not be exported during the next 6 months.
Monthly, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism will review the supply of the 24 products contemplated in the decree, and if it determines that there are sufficient stocks to serve the national market, and if there are surpluses, it may authorize export at the request of interested merchants or producers.