Moving towards policy coherence in trade and health

Helen Walls, Phillip Baker, Richard D Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)491-501
    JournalJournal of Public Health Policy
    Volume36
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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