The first contribution is thus to construct three groups of health products based on the 2007 Harmonized System classification of international trade. Using these commodity groups, we analyse trade flows between 167 countries for the years 1996 to 2009. We find that trade in health products has developed very dynamically, with trade in dosified medicine displaying the strongest growth with an annual growth rate of almost 12 per cent. The results further indicate that the market of health products is dominated by a small number of developed countries. Looking at tariffs on health products for developed and developing countries as well as LDCs and transition economies we find that the overall level of tariffs is low, but far from being zero, especially in the last three country groups. Finally, studying the tariffs on health products in preferential trade agreements between developing countries, the results show that the tariff level is low, but in some individual cases still substantive.
Universal Postal Union
Public health, tariffs, trade, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical technology
JEL classification numbers:
F14, I11, O24
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