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.