US & EU Trade Update July 6July 6, 2020
The European Union (EU) has begun lifting some restrictions on non-EU travelers to the bloc, approving non-binding recommendations for member states. The United States (US), which has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, is not among the list of countries whose citizens are permitted to travel to the EU. The United Kingdom (UK) also released updated travel guidance and similarly did not exempt the United States. The UK Prime Minister also started unveiling a post-pandemic recovery strategy this past week, with a focus on infrastructure investments. COVID-19 cases have spiked in some US states that reopened early, leading some local officials to re-impose restrictions or curb reopening plans. Meanwhile, the US Congress is also moving forward, legislatively, with new sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 project and the situation in Hong Kong.
Reopening Updates | EU, UK, US
The European Commission is moving toward reopening the Continent. On 15 June, EU countries began to lift restrictions on travelers from other countries in the bloc; on Tuesday, 30 June, the criteria to determine whether a non-EU country is safe to allow visitors entry into the EU were established. The Council agreed and recommended that EU countries start lifting travel restrictions for residents of certain third countries. The list includes Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Morocco, Rwanda, South Korea, among other nations, but excludes visitors from the United States. The criteria for entry includes the number of COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days in non-EU countries, the country’s overall response to the pandemic, and whether cases are exhibiting a stable or decreasing trend in comparison to the past 14 days. This recommendation is not legally binding, and the list of third countries is to be reviewed on a bi-weekly basis. China will only be included on the list, if it confirms reciprocity.
As Ireland and the UK are not in the EU’s Schengen area, they are exempt from these recommendations. In addition, Denmark has special status and has been given an additional six months to implement the recommendations. This could clearly create issues, where travelers enter one member state and use it as a means to enter another, however, it remains to be seen how reopening plans will operate in practice. As the advice provided is not binding on member states, it is up to national capitals to decide whether they allow excluded countries into their territory, including citizens from the United States.
While the European Commission recommendations do not currently include the UK, the UK published its own list of ‘safe countries’ on 3 July, which largely exempts¹ visitors from these countries from its mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival, effective 10 July. The Devolved Administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) will set out their own approach to exemptions. The UK Government also updated its