The WTO recently released the latest data on global trade in medical products.In the first half of 2020, global trade in goods fell 14% year on year, but imports and exports of medical products reached US $11,139 billion, up 16% year on year.Trade played an important role in the fight against the epidemic. Demand for products such as disinfectants, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, oximeter, syringes, thermometers and respirators soared. Global trade in critical materials for fighting the epidemic increased by 29 percent.
In the first half of 2020, global imports of facial protection products increased by 90%;China’s exports of key medical products to fight the epidemic rose from $18 billion to $55 billion.China is the largest supplier of face masks, accounting for 56 percent of the world’s exports.In the first half of 2020, China was the sixth largest importer of face masks.China is heavily dependent on imports of intermediate raw materials, with China’s imports of non-woven fabrics in April 2020 tripling from the same period in 2019, with Japan and the United States being the main suppliers.
Despite facing the highest tariff rates among all types of masks, trade in fabric masks is the largest, with a six-fold increase in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.Major importers of anti-epidemic-related materials recorded double-digit growth, with France and Italy increasing their imports by 62% and 52% respectively.