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China, South Korea’s Insistence On Tariffs For Medical Device Industries Could Prevent Global Access To Life-Saving Technologies

Wall Street Journal: How Lower Tariffs Can Save Lives
Nilanjan Banik, professor of economics at Mahindra Ecole Centrale and fellow at CUTS International, and Philip Stevens, director of the Geneva Network

“…Negotiators are meeting in Geneva this week to bring lifesaving medical devices into [the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Information Technology Agreement]. This would drive down costs for health systems and improve care for patients globally. But the deal is being held up by China and South Korea, which want to continue protecting their medical-device industries behind tariff walls. … International alliances are essential, but they are hindered by barriers to trade such as tariffs, which prevent ‘protected’ companies from integrating into global supply chains. The majority of the Asian members of the Information Technology Agreement — Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore — recognize the limits of technological autarky and the harm cost-inflating tariffs cause patients. That China and South Korea are misguidedly pushing for protection is bad for patients, the multilateral trading system, and even their own companies” (11/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.