TT second largest regional supplier of medical products

A UNITED Nations (UN) country database shows that TT was the second largest supplier of medical products to other countries in the region after export restrictions from major suppliers created issues accessing critical medial supplies throughout the region.

The data was presented by Professor Bernard Hoekman, Dean of external relations at the European University Institute during a presentation in collaboration with the University of the West Indies on trade in the region during covid19 on Thursday.

Hoekman said the Caribbean region experienced a shortage of medical supplies when the US, the region’s number one supplier of PPE and medical supplies, implemented export restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic.

The largest exporting country for TT for these supplies is the US, according to the database. The second is India and third is China; both have also implemented restrictions on export. Hoekman said he noticed, however, that there was a lot of intra-Caribbean trading happening, as restrictions were not placed on regional countries.

He said although he is not an expert in production and trade, he found it “striking” that the second largest supplier of medical products to other Caribbean countries was TT. “Barbados is another major player,” he said. He said the Caribbean could have potentially been negatively affected by these restrictions during the pandemic.

Hoekman said to facilitate the supply and demand for medial supplies and PPE, countries that rely on imports did the most they could to relax import regulations, creating access to these products. “The market leader in liberalising trade is Latin America and the Caribbean.”

He said many countries liberalised trade by removing tariffs, reducing taxes and took action to facilitate the movement of these critical products across borders. “More countries liberalised trade versus restricted it. Even countries that restricted trade (in some areas) also liberalised (in others). Most countries did what they had to do to ensure the availability of critical supplies.”

He said when it came to food, there was a very different pattern. “A lot of countries started putting export restrictions on food products very early on, he said, adding several countries only started to take measures in April.


"TT second largest regional supplier of medical products"

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