Trade and Industry

Monday, 01 December 2003

Mapping Health Services Trade in South Africa

  • Year: 2003
  • Author(s): Susan Cleary; Stephen Thomas
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

In South Africa, there is an increasing trend towards trading health services, both in the public and in the private health sectors, despite minimal formal liberalisation offered by South Africa under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Health services trade has been occurring in at least three of the four modes of supply: foreign commercial presence, consumption abroad and movement of natural persons. This paper concentrates on defining regulations in the health sector and determining whether these form barriers to trade or are trade enabling. The paper also provides data on the sector under the categories of human resources, health care providers and health care purchasers. It is concluded that policymakers would be wise to exercise due caution when considering health services trade liberalisation as the impact on the public sector may not be positive.