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Export Restrictions: A Negative-Sum Policy Response to the COVID-19 crisis


  • Bernard Hoekman
  • Matteo Fiorini
  • Aydin Yildirim


Many countries, including China, European member states, the European Union, India and the United States have put in place measures to restrict exports of medical products as part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective is to allocate domestic supplies to national healthcare systems and citizens. These policies break supply chains that rely on sourcing of inputs from different countries, reduce access to critically needed supplies and foster excessive price spikes and volatility, and generate foreign policy tensions. Experience with widespread use of export restrictions by food exporting countries in times of market disruption and supply shortages suggests a priority for the G20 should be to work with industry to put in place systems to enhance access to information on production capacity, investments to boost supplies and address supply chain bottlenecks affecting production and trade in essential medical supplies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernard Hoekman & Matteo Fiorini & Aydin Yildirim, 2020. "Export Restrictions: A Negative-Sum Policy Response to the COVID-19 crisis," RSCAS Working Papers 2020/23, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2020/23

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2012. "Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 422-427.
    2. Bernard Hoekman & Charles Sabel, 2019. "Open Plurilateral Agreements, International Regulatory Cooperation and the WTO," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 10(3), pages 297-312, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Findlay & Bernard Hoekman, 2020. "Value Chain Approaches to Reducing Policy Spillovers on International Business," RSCAS Working Papers 2020/, European University Institute.
    2. Christopher Findlay & Bernard Hoekman, 2021. "Value chain approaches to reducing policy spillovers on international business," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 4(3), pages 390-409, September.

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    More about this item


    Coronavirus; COVID-19 pandemic; export restrictions; trade policy; G20;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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