A1 - Pierre Cotterlaz
A1 - Guillaume Gaulier
A1 - Aude Sztulman
A1 - Deniz Ünal
TI - Pioneering a new classification: a comprehensive study of healthcare products in global trade
IS - 2024-02
T3 - Working Papers
KW - Health Products
KW - International Trade
KW - Advanced Economies
KW - Emerging and Developing Economies
N2 -
International trade in healthcare products took off in the 2000s at the height of hyper-globalisation. Twenty years on, the Covid-19 shock drove home to governments the importance of health security and trained the spotlight on the industrial sovereignty issues raised by the international organisation of production. However, the tangled web of international value chains has compromised the traceability of the manufacturing of these essential goods. In addition, the classification of healthcare products across a multitude of industries in the trade and production nomenclatures makes them hard to identify and muddies the picture further. In this paper, we have painstakingly identified these products and classified them together in one industry grouping to assess the scale of and trends in trade to meet the needs of national health systems. Covering a vast range of products (medicinal products and their compounds, medical technology equipment and small medical materials), this healthcare industry grouping has posted the strongest relative growth since 2000, rising to take the number two share of world trade in 2021 just behind electronic products. This paper details the nature of world trade in the healthcare industry grouping and its five branches by production stage (intermediate and final), type of trade flows (one-way and two-way) and quality/price range. It goes on to present how the advanced countries are positioned compared with the rest.

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