While these three economies’ share of total global merchandise trade was around 31% in 2020, their share of Covid-19-critical products is even higher, at 41%.
To combat the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries imposed strict lockdowns on economic activity, particularly with regards to travel, hospitality, and events.
The lockdowns, coupled with a collapse in consumer and business confidence, sparked one of the most severe recessions in recent history.
As the pandemic unfolded, economists cut their forecasts for variables such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment.
The top 10 economies accounted for about 72% of the world supply of these goods, although the share of economies from fifth place (Mexico, 3.3%) to tenth (Ireland, 2.3%) was relatively small.
In particular, Chinese exports of products considered critical to fighting the pandemic nearly tripled, from $ 38 billion in 2019 to $ 105 billion in 2020.
Also, the increase in exports led China to the position of the main exporter in 2020. Another economy that experienced a big jump in exports in 2020 was Malaysia, which registered an annual increase of 52 percent.
Top 10 exporters and importers of goods critical to combatting COVID-19
In terms of exports, even if the United States remained one of the main exporters, the value of US exports fell by 0.7%, possibly as a result of increased domestic demand.
Another leading exporter that posted negative growth was Ireland, down 5.8 percent.
Growth was more moderate for the other major exporters, mostly less than 10 percent.
However, even if these suppliers saw an increase in the value of exports compared to 2019, their relative share in world exports declined due to China’s even faster growth.