COVID-19: Expanding access to essential supplies in a value chain world
Chapter by Matteo Fiorini, Bernard Hoekman and Aydin Yildirim in Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett (eds.), COVID-19 and Trade Policy: Why Turning Inward Won’t Work, published by CEPR Press (2020), pp. 63-76
Some governments have responded to shortages of medical supplies by imposing export controls and requisitioning domestic suppliers. This chapter examines several recent examples where restrictions and confiscations actually made it harder, not easier, to get vital equipment to healthcare professionals. The authors argue that such policies have and will continue to backfire because they impede the operation of international supply chains that are today a critical element of all nations’ manufacturing capacity. One policy lesson is that governments should work with industry to put in place systems to identify and address supply-chain bottlenecks that affect production and trade in essential equipment.