Advertisement

Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 491–501 | Cite as

Commentary: Moving towards policy coherence in trade and health

  • Helen WallsEmail author
  • Phillip Baker
  • Richard Smith
Commentary

Abstract

International trade has brought economic benefits to many countries, but the association of trade and investment liberalisation with poor health outcomes concerns the public health community. The need to secure more ‘healthy’ trade is a recognised priority, especially as countries move from global to regional/bilateral trade agreements – with greater public health risks. However, a transition towards ‘healthier trade’ may be hindered by worldview differences between the trade and health communities. There is a tendency for health actors to perceive trade as a threat to population health, and for trade actors to view health as a constraint to trade objectives of reducing barriers to cross-border commercial flows and economic growth. Unless such differing worldviews can be aligned, finding ways forward for addressing public health in trade policy is likely to be difficult. Moving forward will involve understanding the values and drivers of the respective groups, and developing solutions palatable to their various interests. Given the power imbalances between the two areas, it is likely that the health community will have to make the first moves in this respect. This article outlines the key issues involved and suggests areas where such moves have been, and may be made.

Keywords

trade health governance policy coherence 

References

  1. Baker, P., Kay, A. and Walls, H. (2014) Trade and investment liberalization and Asia’s noncommunicable disease epidemic: A synthesis of data and existing literature. Globalization and Health 10 (1): 66.Google Scholar
  2. Dollar, D. (2001) Is globalization good for your health? Bulletin of the World Health Organization 79 (9): 827–833.Google Scholar
  3. Blouin, C., Chopra, M. and van der Hoeven, R. (2009) Trade and social determinants of health. The Lancet 373 (9662): 502–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blouin, C. (2007) Trade policy and health: From conflicting interests to policy coherence. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 85 (3): 169–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. UNCTAD. (2012) World Investment Report. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).Google Scholar
  6. Gleeson, D. and Friel, S. (2013) Emerging threats to public health from regional trade agreements. The Lancet 381 (9876): 1507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Walls, H., Smith, R. and Drahos, P. (2015) Improving regulatory capacity to manage risks associated with trade agreements. Globalization and Health 11 (14).Google Scholar
  8. Charnolitz, S. (2004) Transparency and participation in the World Trade Organization. Rutgers Law Review 56: 927.Google Scholar
  9. Townsend, B., Martin, E., Hofgren, H. and de Leeuw, E. (2012) Global health governance: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the Doha Declaration and democratisation. Administrative Sciences 2 (2): 186–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Vines, T., Crow, K. and Faunce, T. (2012) Balancing public health, trade and intellectual monopoly privileges: Recent Australian IP legislation and the TPPA. Journal of Law and Medicine 20 (2): 280–294.Google Scholar
  11. Blouin, C., Drager, N. and Smith, R. (2006) International Trade in Health Services and the GATS: Current Issues and Debates. Washington DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  12. Bennet, N. (2014) Health concerns raised over EU-US trade deal. The Lancet 384 (9946): 843–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jarman, H. (2013) Attack on Australia: Tobacco industry challenges to plain packaging. Journal of Public Health Policy 34 (3): 375–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Baker, B. (2013) Threat of pharmaceutical-related IP investment rights in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: An Eli Lilly v. Canada case study. Investment Treaty News.Google Scholar
  15. Schram, A., Labonte, R. and Khatter, K. (2014) The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Public Health: Why we should be concerned. Open Medicine 8 (3): e100–107.Google Scholar
  16. Walls, H. and Smith, R. (2015) Rethinking governance for trade and health. British Medical Journal 351: h3652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Monasterio, E. and Gleeson, D. (2014) Pharmaceutical industry behaviour and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. New Zealand Medical Journal 127 (1389): 6–12.Google Scholar
  18. Monasterio, E. and Gleeson, D. (2014) The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement: Exacerbation of inequality for patients with serious mental illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 48 (12): 1077–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gleeson, D., Lopert, R. and Reid, P. (2013) How the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement could undermine PHARMAC and threaten access to affordable medicines and health equity in New Zealand. Health Policy 112 (3): 227–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Bhardwaj, K. and Oh, C. (2014) The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Implications for Access to Medicines and Public Health: UNITAID. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  21. Linh, N., Huong, N. and Thuy, H. (2015) Evolving trade policy and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Does it threaten Vietnam’s access to medicine and its progress towards scaling up HIV prevention, treatment and care? Global Public Health 10 (1): s149–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Russell, J., Greenhalgh, T., Byrne, E. and McDonnell, J. (2008) Recognising rhetoric in health care policy analysis. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy 13 (1): 40–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Drope, J. and Lencucha, R. (2014) Evolving norms at the intersection of health and trade. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 39 (3): 591–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Smith, R.D., Lee, K. and Drager, N. (2009) Trade and health: An agenda for action. Lancet 373 (9665): 768–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Naher, F., Barkat-e-Khuda, S.S.A. and Hossain, M. (2014) How nutrition-friendly are agriculture and health policies in Bangladesh? Food & Nutrition Bulletin 35 (1): 133–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Malapit, H., Kadiyala, S., Quisumbing, A., Cunningham, K. and Tyagi, P. (2013) Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture, Production Diversity, and Nutrition: Evidence from Nepal: IFPRI Discussion Paper 013132013. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  27. Gillespie, S., Harris, J. and Kadiyala, S. (2012) The Agriculture-Nutrition Disconnect in India: What do we Know?: IFPRI Discussion Paper 011872012. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  28. Gostin, L. and Sridhar, D. (2014) Global health and the law. New England Journal of Medicine 370: 1732–1740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mackey, T., Liang, B. and Novotny, T. (2013) Evolution of tobacco labelling and packaging: International legal considerations and health governance. American Journal of Public Health 103 (4): e39–e43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Magnusson, R.S. (2010) Global health governance and the challenge of chronic, non‐communicable disease. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 38 (3): 490–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Holden, C. and Lee, K. (2009) Corporate power and social policy: The political economy of the transnational tobacco companies. Global Social Policy 9 (3): 328–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Buse, K., Mays, N. and Walt, G. (2012) Making Health Policy. Berkshire, UK; New York: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Walls, H., Butler, C.D., Dixon, J. and Samarawickrema, I. (2015) Implications of ‘structure versus agency’ for addressing health and wellbeing in an ecologically-constrained world: With a focus on prospects for gender equity. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics.Google Scholar
  34. Walls, H., Peeters, A., Loff, B. and Crammond, B. (2009) Why education and choice won’t solve the obesity problem. American Journal of Public Health 99 (4): 590–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Moodie, R. et al (2013) Profits and pandemics: Prevention of harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol, and ultra-processed food and drink industries. Lancet 381 (9867): 670–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gornall, J. (2015) Sugar: Spinning a web of influence. British Medical Journal 350: h231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gornall, J. (2015) Sugar’s web of influence 2: Biasing the science. British Medical Journal 350: h215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wilks, S. (2013) The Political Power of the Business Corporation. Cheltenham, UK: Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Braithwaite, J. and Drahos, P. (2000) Global Business Regulation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Freeman, J., Keating, G., Monasterio, E. and Gleeson, D. 27 signatories. (2015) Call for transparency in new generation trade deals. Lancet 385 (9968): 604–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McGrady, B. (2011) Trade and Public Health: The WTO, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Diet. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Labonte, R., Mohindra, K. and Lencucha, R. (2011) Framing international trade and chronic disease. Globalization and Health 7: 21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. World Health Organization Country Office for Thailand. (2011) International Health Policy Program (IHPP), International Trade and Health Programme. 2010. Framework on Strategic Development Towards Policy Coherence between International Trade and Health, 2011-2015. Nonthaburi: International Health Policy Programme, Ministry of Public Health, and Health Systems Research Institute.Google Scholar
  44. Baker, P., Kay, A. and Walls, H. (2015) Strengthening trade and health governance capacities to address non‐communicable diseases in Asia: Challenges and ways forward. Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies 2 (2): 310–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thaiprayoon, S. and Smith, R. (2014) Capacity building for global health diplomacy: Thailand’s experience of trade and health. Health Policy and Planning.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Global Health and DevelopmentLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  2. 2.Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and HealthLondonUK
  3. 3.Regulatory Institutions Network, The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations