In Search of Coherence between Trade and Health: Inter-Institutional Opportunities
McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer
Andrew D. Mitchell
University of Melbourne - Melbourne Law School
February 16, 2010
Maryland Journal of International Law, 2010
U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 451
The fragmented state of contemporary international law and institutions gives rise to contentious relationships between larger policy objectives. An example of such relationships, the ‘trade and health’ debate has long been understood as suffering from a lack of policy coherence, at the expense of health. This paper explores the institutional modalities of formulating a coherent policy that would redress the gravitational pull of the World Trade Organization, opting for cooperation between the major relevant international organizations rather than counterbalancing the dominance of trade. Part II of the paper notes the multi-layered impacts of trade on health, mindful of areas of tension between trade agreements and health. These tensions are then placed within the broader discourse about the fragmentation of international law into sectoral normative regimes, with a view to highlighting the major risks involved in the process. Part IV briefly addresses the impact of trade agreements on national health measures, and the operation of the ‘health exception’ in GATT 1994 in light of the jurisprudence of WTO tribunals. Part V explores the role of the World Health Organization in the governance of trade and health. The paper concludes by making suggestions for formal inter-institutional cooperation between WTO and WHO, which, it is hoped, would positively contribute to the development of norms and institutional practices that better integrate health objectives into trade policy-making and implementation, and trade objectives into health policy-making and implementation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: international law, trade, health, WTO
JEL Classification: K00, K33
Date posted: February 17, 2010 ; Last revised: May 13, 2010
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