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Tariffs Notwithstanding, Globalization Alive and Well in Healthcare

By Alfred Romann

The backlash against global trade and the resurgence of protectionism is increasingly evident, mostly out of the U.S. This push flies in the face of decades of increasingly fluent globalization.

Between 2011 and 2016, international trade fell from 60 percent of GDP to 56 percent.

And yet, while the U.S. goes out of its way to fray relationships around the world, Asian economies continue to boost trade ties and lower barriers.

This push is evident in the healthcare market, to name one example. Earlier this week, BioWorld MedTech (paywall) ran a story about Samsung Electronics (a Korean company) looking to sell its diagnostic device unit to Nipro (a Japanese company). For quite some time, Nipro has been the reagent supplier to a Samsung subsidiary. A key focus for the companies is likely to be China and other Asian markets.

While international trade falls in many places, emerging economies in the region are increasingly plugged in.

Vietnam is the poster child for globalization. The rapidly growing economy trades twice the value of its GDP internationally. Vietnam’s economy is the most globalized of any economy with more than 50 million people, according to the World Bank.

Quartz reported that Vietnam easily surpassed second-place Thailand, which trades 122 percent of its GDP.

For both of them, China and the U.S. are the main destination markets. With the U.S. making it more difficult to trade internationally, China might fill the vacuum.

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