• Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

PHL medical services exports fell 43% in 2020 – WTO

ByMadeleine J. Pierce

Jun 6, 2022

Exports of medical services from the PHILIPPINES fell by 43% in 2020, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In partnership with the World Bank, the WTO noted in its report on Friday that exports of medical services via mode 2 (consumption abroad such as consumer travel to obtain medical services) fell in 2020.

“The pandemic has exacerbated inequalities, disproportionately affecting economies dependent on income from medical travel and also affecting people in poorer countries seeking treatment abroad,” the WTO report notes.

The countries that recorded a decline in their exports of medical services are the Philippines, Armenia, Malaysia, Jordan, Costa Rica, Turkey, Vietnam, among others.

Among the ten countries mentioned, the Philippines ranked second to last, posting a drop in medical services exports of 43%. Meanwhile, Armenia recorded the largest drop in medical services exports of 81%. The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, ranked tenth, revealing only a 36% decline.

“This report highlights how trade is a force for good in enabling access to medical goods and services, but also indicates what we can do better,” said WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi Okonjo. -Iweala.

Okonjo Iweala added that the objective of the report is to help policymakers draw lessons for trade policy and international cooperation by examining trade and trade policies for medical goods and services before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. .

“One of the key takeaways from the report is that trade plays an important role in ensuring access to medical goods and services both in normal times and, as the past two years have shown, in times of crisis” , Okonjo-Iweala said.

For her part, Mari Pangestu, Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank, highlighted the “unique role” that the WTO and the World Bank can play in using trade to improve health security. world.

“We need greater trade openness, not economic nationalism. The report presented today highlights the crucial role of international trade in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. the next pandemic,” Pangestu said.

The WTO pointed out that the report highlights that opening markets can increase access to medical services and goods, including the inputs needed to manufacture them, improve their quality and diversity, and reduce costs.

Additionally, the World Trade Organization pointed out that open trade, combined with government financial support, has also enabled the innovation that has led to the rapid development of vaccines during the Covid-19 crisis.

“But excessive production concentration, restrictive trade policies, supply chain disruptions and regulatory divergences can undermine the ability of public health systems to respond to pandemics and other health crises,” the report said.

The report states that in 2020, global trade in medical services fell by 9%, significantly hampered by pandemic-related travel restrictions, border closures and reduced travel by healthcare workers.

Trade through the cross-border movement of patients (mode 2) and healthcare workers (mode 4) fell by 58% and 39%, respectively. As a result, trade in medical services fell 9% to $71.6 billion.

In contrast, the cross-border (mode 1) supply of medical services (including telehealth) soared in 2020. The report notes that “the pandemic and associated containment measures have accelerated the supply of remote medical services (a trend that started in the past decade) and the rise of digital health services.