Coronavirus Crisis · What Is Essential and What Is Not: International Contracts

6 April 2020 - Andrés Monereo

Royal Decree-Law 10/2020, of 29 March, establishes a list of the only economic activities that may be carried out by workers in companies in Spain during the period from 30 March to, in principle, 9 April, in order to further limit the mobility of people and reduce infection.

We imagine that it must be of the utmost difficulty to decide what can be done in a country because it is “essential” and, thus, prohibit whatever is not. The lawmakers are being put to the test these days.

Among the interpretative notes of Royal Decree-Law 10/2020, of 29 March, one issued by the Ministry of Industry stands out: it recognises as essential activities the import and export of all types of products for the fulfilment of international contracts.

The “essential” criterion is not, in this case, linked to the basic needs of the population (food, transportation, civil protection, security, healthcare, etc.). The essential element is to have an undertaking in an international contract to export products.

The Ministry of Industry does not explain where the reasoning is behind this interpretation, which must have left many companies relieved that otherwise would not be able to justify their activity in these times of hibernation.

Andrés Monereo Velasco
Corporate and M&A