Boris Johnson has been elected UK Prime Minister, and the US and UK will enter into bi-lateral trade negotiations just ahead.
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are no longer strictly focused on how goods cross borders. Under WTO rules, “public services” are only excluded from the trade agreement when they are 100% not for profit or where there is no other private provider.
The UK’s Health and Social Care Act provided for competition in medical services, with private health providers being allowed to go ‘head to head’ with public NHS providers. Other UK health services, such as dentistry, charge fees and are considered ‘for profit.’
In future trade deals, the US is likely to insist all health related services are included in scope for a bi-lateral agreement.
Primary opportunities exist for American and other foreign health companies to gain entrance to the UK market.
Secondary opportunities are being driven by:
- Pharmaceutical companies looking for ways to avoid/eliminate National Health Services (NHS) controls on drug prices.
- IT companies viewing the NHS collective data bases as opportunities for hosting and data mining.
Companies currently outside the UK should be paying close attention to the structure of Brexit and WTO-related changes in the coming months. Stay connected to Global Chamber® along the way.
This will likely be a topic for discussion at our next Global Chamber® London event in September.
Mark Lohsen - Executive Director