Simon J. Evenett | 23 Mar 2020

The past fortnight has witnessed a sharp increase in zero-sum, unilateral trade policy acts as governments scramble for medical supplies and equipment. During a pandemic such zero-sum behaviour risks inflicting an unconscionable human toll, as a case study on medical ventilators in this note makes clear. Rather than dwell exclusively on negative developments in this note, the case is also made for a bottom-up, cooperative trade policy initiative in which governments working together can exploit scale and ensure that trade policy does not diminish the payoff from public health interventions.