There is increasing need to free up medical trade to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and secure global health. Yet import tariffs, export restrictions, and other limitations on international trade in medicines and medical goods continue to confound the hopes for fulfilling this need. Indeed, added restrictions have been imposed on medical trade during the pandemic. Meanwhile, governments have accomplished little at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to help meet this need. Using trade to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to otherwise support global health must move to the top of the WTO agenda, with the aim of finalizing new rules to support trading for health care goods by the time of the next WTO ministerial conference in Geneva in late November 2021— and ideally, sooner.
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