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Stay informed and connected on the latest COVID-19 developments
In Europe and in the world, unprecedented resources and efforts are focused on actions to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak and mitigate the effects of the crisis. The outbreak poses a serious threat, not only to the global health and wellbeing of citizens, but also to the global economy with potential harmful consequences for commerce and industry.
At AmCham EU, our goal has always been to be a valuable source of information for our members and for our stakeholders. We support our members’ efforts and engagement, as well as provide a forum for sharing best practices that are beneficial to everyone in our network. With this in mind, we have developed this webpage to share information and resources on the COVID-19 outbreak.
AmCham EU is closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This health emergency will also have profound social and economic implications. Our member companies are facing new challenges as they strive to adapt to the current circumstances. While economists predict we are heading toward a global recession, strong cooperation between government, business and civil society will be essential to weather the storm.
As Europe faces up to the societal challenge of our times, AmCham EU calls on the EU to continue its efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Solidarity between and beyond Member States, a strengthened Single Market and a return to international cooperation will be the three key pillars in overcoming COVID-19.
In response to the European Commission’s recovery plan which aims to tackle the ripple effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the European economy, AmCham EU released a statement that highlights support for the proposal and calls on Member States to endorse it.
AmCham EU wrote a letter to Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, European Commission to emphasise the importance of maintaining global supply chains, and to call for clearer definitions of critical infrastructure at this time of COVID-19 emergency. For AmCham EU, definitions must take into account ICT infrastructure, energy, chemicals, logistics, infrastructure and transportation.
A group of nine business associations has penned a letter to DG TAXUD's Director General, Stephen Quest. It supports the actions already taken by the European Commission to provide guidance for customs authorities on how to manage the crisis. Greater coordination of Member States' actions will also be key to ensure that the EU's customs authorities act in synchrony.
7 April: AmChams in Europe – Solidarity, coordination and action: what we need to fight COVID-19 and protect the economy
AmCham EU co-signed a statement with 44 other American Chambers of Commerce from Europe and Eurasia. AmChams in Europe fully support governments’ efforts to tackle the pandemic and mitigate its effects. The mobilisation of resources has been unprecedented, and we need continued leadership to address the impact of the crisis on society. AmChams in Europe also call on governments to focus on solidarity, coordination and action.
The 2020 edition of the Transatlantic Economy report 2020 stresses the impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will have on both the European and US economies. Despite mounting uncertainty, the 2020 report emphasises that the fundamentals of the transatlantic relationship remain strong, and will likely play a role in the economic recovery to come.
Susan Danger, CEO, AmCham EU, said: ‘We need the US and the EU to work together, with the entire global community, to ensure a coordinated approach to the health emergency caused by COVID-19 and its ripple effects on the economy. Bold action from governments is critical to protect citizens’ health and shield our economies from the impact of a global recession.’ She went on to say: ‘Today’s crisis demonstrates the continued importance of transatlantic cooperation.’
AmCham EU called on the European Commission to support a coordinated response with the Member States to issues related to customs border management and flow of commercial goods.
As the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the EU institutions and the Member States are taking unprecedented measures to protect citizens and safeguard the economy. The EU’s initiatives to coordinate efforts across Europe are critical to a successful response and so is its role in coordinating an EU-wide recovery strategy. Only with cooperation and solidarity can we overcome an emergency of the scale of COVID-19. For a snapshot of the EU response, see our one pager here.
Below is a summary of the already proposed measures which will be further elaborated in the coming weeks with Member States.
Instruments offering financial support to Member States:
- Use of the Multiannual Financial Framework to fund an "unprecedented” EU-wide recovery package to support Member States.
- Temporary lifting of State Aid measures to support businesses and workers. Member States can now provide wage subsidies, suspension of payments of corporate taxes and VAT or social contributions.
- Member States decided on the suspension of the Stability and Growth Pact obligations on Monday 23 March, in order to allow billions of euros in extra spending to mitigate the severe economic downturn and fund healthcare systems.
- SURE, a European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency. This initiative provides up to €100 billion in total financial assistance to all Member States to compensate the wage losses due to short-time work schemes.
- Strengthening of the European Investment Bank’s activities: the EIB will create a pan-European guarantee fund which could support €200 billion of financing for companies and SMEs.
- Use of the European Stability Mechanism to provide credit to Member States to support domestic healthcare spending conditions, without conditionality attached.
- Use of the European Stability Mechanism to finance Member States’ healthcare spending.
- Creation of an EU Recovery Fund to support the recovering and provide funding to programmes designed to kick-start the economy. The characteristics of the fund are to be defined more specifically by the European Council on 23 April.
- From the EU budget directed at healthcare systems, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and labour markets funds will be distributed as follows: €37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative; €29 billion EU structural funds; €8 billion of investment liquidity.
Measures to support trade and the EU Single Market:
- Creation of Green lanes to streamline border crossings while ensuring the security of drivers across the continent. In these exceptional circumstances, drivers of freight vehicles will not be asked to produce any document other than their identification card, driver's license and if necessary a letter from their employer. The electronic submission/display of documents should be accepted.
- Coordination of external border controls and measures to ensure that medicines, protective equipment and other goods can reach hospitals, doctors' practices and nursing homes.
- A temporary waiver of customs duties and VAT on the import of medical devices from third countries. This will make it easier financially to get the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and patients need.
- The European Commission and European Council have issued roadmap to lifting coronavirus containment measures. The roadmap contains guidelines and key criteria to be used by Member States when planning the lifting of lockdown measures. See the roadmap here.
- The European Commission has issued guidelines on how to resume travel within the Schengen area and re-launch the EU tourism sector while preserving the safety of citizens and workers. Read the guidelines here.
Altogether, the EU and its member states are mobilising:
- at least 1% EU GDP in fiscal measures
- at least 10% EU GDP in liquidity support
In addition, the European Central Bank is implementing a €750 billion pandemic emergency purchase programme.
- The European Parlaiment demands that the EU recovery fund is added to the EU’s long term budget 2021-2027. Read here.
- The Eurogroup makes progress on the deployment of funding instruments to support the EU economy. Read the speech by the Eurogroup president here.
- The European Commission released guidance on “a common approach for safe and efficient mobile tracing apps across the EU”. Read here.
- The European Commission released a Tourism and Transport package to relaunch the European Tourism sector whilst ensuring citizens’ safety. Ready here.
- The European Council agrees to set up a recovery fund in the framework of the MFF to sustain Europe’s economic recovery. Read here.
- The European Commission proposes exceptional measures in support of the EU’s agricultural sector. Read here.
- The Eurogroup agrees on a package of rescue instruments to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read here.
- The European Commission expands the temporary lifting of State aid rules to recapitalization measures. Read here.
- The European Medical Agency establishes a Task Force to manage regulatory action related to COVID-19 medicines. Read here.
Giving Back News
- The European Parliament has been using its canteens to prepare meals for people in need as well as for medical staff.
- Vulnerable women have been accommodated on the European Parliament premises in Brussels.
- The European Parliament has been using its cars and truck fleet for transportation of food to doctors and nurses.
- The European Parliament's Louise Weiss building in Strasbourg has been transformed in a screening center to test the general population under the supervision of the Regional Health Agency and the Prefecture.
EU Member States play a key role in safeguarding the wellbeing of citizens at these difficult times. The present circumstances have created the necessity for decisive action from governments to protect individuals and support a major economic shock across European countries and beyond.
ES – Spain’s three-part economic recovery: (1) Government will spare no efforts in reducing social and economic consequences of coronavirus; (2) Government to mobilise up to 200 billion euros, almost 20% of GDP; (3) Government adopts 50 new measures to extend protection for most vulnerable groups, companies and independent contractors.
The entire world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong international cooperation, including through the G7 and G20, are essential components of an effective response to the health emergency and successful economic recovery.
G20 – Statement of the extraordinary G20 leaders’ summit (26 March)
UK - Coronavirus Act 2020
WTO – Trade and trade-related measures: WTO Members notifications on COVID-19 (as of 7 April 2020)
WTO/WHO/FAO - Joint call to keep food trade flowing in response to COVID-19 (31 March)
The global health crisis we face today is an unprecedented challenge for our society. Our member companies have taken immediate action to protect employees, but also to ensure, wherever possible, business continuity. American companies are committed to Europe and stand ready to help policy-makers as they steer the region through the crisis.
Our member companies are also doing what they can to help local communities in Europe and around the world. They contribute their skills, capacities and infrastructure to provide resources to respond to the crisis and support health workers.
Take a look at some of their stories here.
Our member companies have developed valuable sources of information featuring analysis, best practices for companies, economic forecasts and thought leadership. Have a look below and find a number of resources that provide insights into the impact of COVID-19.
Cambre Associates - COVID-19 EU bulletin
H&K Strategies - United in Crisis; Marketing in a Pandemic – Part of Our New Reality; COVID-19, or the end of free trade; The COVID-19 pandemic – Navigating the rapidly evolving terrain of China’s new consumer landscape; How COVID-19 Will Change Consumer Behavior + Purchase Patterns; Will COVID-19 contaminate the EU’s Green Deal?
McKinsey & Company - How to restart national economies during the coronavirus crisis
S&P Global - Coronavirus: Economic & Credit Market Implications
Steelcase - The post-COVID workplace
The AmChams in Europe network brings together 45 AmChams from 43 countries across Europe and Eurasia. The AmChams have been responding to the COVID-19 global outbreak through different initiatives that mobilise member companies and networks so as to support governments’ efforts and the overall economic recovery efforts needed. Find out more about these initiatives from the AmChams in Europe LinkedIn page and from the joint statement highlighting the need for solidarity, coordination and action.
- AmCham Belgium - Read here for the key takeaways on how to ‘get back to work, safely and legally’.
- AmCham Croatia – AmCham Croatia has published their recommendations for economic relief, you can read it here.
- AmCham Finland - The latest US market updates can be found on AmCham Finland’s dedicated page here.
- AmCham Germany - AmCham Germany has launched a podcast, click here to listen in.
- AmCham Italy - AmCham Italy has established a COVID-19 Task Force, available here.
- AmCham Italy - American companies in Italy have already donated more than 34 million Euros to support the italian healthcare system. See more here.
- AmCham Latvia - Stay informed and share updates on global pandemic on the website of AmCham Latvia. On Thursday, 14 May 2020 AmCham Latvia sent a letter Ilze Viņķele, Minister of Health thanking and commending Latvian healthcare professionals for their work during this time of unprecedented crisis, successfully containing the spread of the coronavirus in Latvia.
- AmCham Luxembourg - Learn ‘Languages of Luxembourg’ while on lockdown, click here for more information.
- AmCham Montenegro - Donate to a fundraising account, which The Government of Montenegro has opened for suppression of virus COVID-19. See more here.
- AmCham Poland - Click here to read about the Anti-Crisis Shield in Poland.
- AmCham Romania - Join the joint COVID-19 Relief Effort from the U.S. Embassy in Romania and AmCham Romania. Read about it here.
- AmCham Serbia - AmCham Serbia is sharing a document focusing on COVID-19 Recommendations for Business as well as a check list to protect the workforce from the consequences of COVID-19.
- AmCham Slovakia – Join AmCham Slovakia’s HBRP Webinar: Out - Innovate the Pandemic. See here.
- AmCham Slovenia - Join AmCham Slovenia’s ‘Coffee to Connect’ – at 10.00, Tuesday through Friday. Find out more here.
- AmCham Sweden - Follow COVID-19 updates from all over the world compiled on the website of AmCham Sweden.
- AmCham Turkey (ABFT) - To explore the COVID-19 portal of AmCham Turkey read here.
- AmCham Ukraine - urged the government of Ukraine to continue with its healthcare reform in. Read the statement in detail here.
Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 developments by checking sources such as:
- The webpage of the European Commission’s coronavirus response team.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) page.
- The specially dedicated webpage of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- The US Department of State COVID-19 page.
- The Overseas Security Advisory Council COVID-19 resource page.
- The STEP programme for travel updates.
- The US Chamber of Commerce’s Coronavirus platform, featuring news and tools to support business.
- The EEAS’s EU vs Disinformation dashboard collecting all the disinformation spread by Russia on coronavirus.
- The AmChams in Europe LinkedIn page, including updates from our network and national governments’ activities.
- The United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has established an email to accept private sector inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org. Companies can use this to inquire about general matters or specific shipments relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay up to date with information about COVID-19 from credible, authoritative news sources and public health agencies by following Twitter's live curated coverage here.
Follow the OECD macroeconomic policy response of countries around the world.
For updates related to Belgium, we advise you to register on be.alert to receive the latest updates from Belgian authorities. Guidance from the Belgian government is updated regularly on this website. Please also visit the website of the US Embassy in Belgium here.
Our Business Partners’ Response:
Global Business Alliance: How GBA members are fighting COVID-19.
US Chamber of Commerce: Live blog monitoring the legislative response; Coronavirus Resources and Guides for Small Business; Global Dashboard on COVID-19 Government Policies; US Chamber Foundation Corporate Aid Tracker.
US Council of International Business: Ensuring business continuity during COVID-19.