The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy implemented further amendments to the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung – AWV) due to the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the buyout of German companies active in the life sciences and infection protection sectors by investors from outside the EU (or EFTA). The amendment entered into force on 3 June 2020.

The amendment broadens the scope of application of cross-sector reviews. In particular, the development and manufacture of the following products are covered by the cross-sectoral reviews:

  • personal protective equipment, such as face masks;
  • essential medicines such as vaccines (and including raw materials and active ingredients);
  • medical products used for diagnosing, preventing, monitoring, predicting, forecasting, treating, or alleviating life-threatening and highly contagious infectious diseases; or
  • in vitro diagnostics that are used to provide information on physiological or pathological processes or conditions, or for determining or monitoring therapeutic measures in connection with life-threatening and highly contagious infectious diseases.

Companies active in these sectors should be aware of the amendments implemented by the German government when planning and structuring such a transaction involving an investor from outside the EU (or EFTA) and a German business.