Promoting Trade in Medical Goods Will Save Lives



APEC Policy Support Unit| Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

Active trade policy responses are critical for alleviating the burden on healthcare systems, according to a new policy brief by the APEC Policy Support Unit.

The policy brief, titled “Promoting Trade in Medical Goods to Tackle COVID-19 Challenges,” highlights the importance of acting collectively to reduce or eliminate tariffs on medical goods permanently.

220_PSU_Policy Brief on Trade in Medical Products


Key messages from this policy brief are:

  • The global trade in medical goods to support the fight against COVID-19 is significant, amounting to nearly USD 1 trillion.
  • APEC economies account for 40.8 percent (USD 404.5 billion) of the global import value of medical goods and 28.8 percent (USD 271.8 billion) of the global export value.
  • More than 90 percent of the trade in medical goods by APEC involves 10 APEC economies.
  • Most APEC economies apply low most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs to medicines and medical equipment, but impose higher tariff rates on the medical supplies and personal protective products that are essential to tackling the COVID-19 challenges.
  • Trade policy is an important tool to facilitate access to medical goods to cope with the challenges raised by COVID-19 and APEC is a relevant forum to strengthen efforts in this area.
  • APEC economies could discuss collective initiatives to permanently reduce or eliminate tariffs on medical goods; commit to avoid the implementation of any unnecessary trade-restrictive measures, particularly export restrictions affecting trade in medical goods; and commit to maintain supply lines open and functional.

To view the full report at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation,  please click here