WTO Law and Risk Factors for Non-Communicable Diseases: A Complex Relationship
RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND THE WTO, Geert Van Calster & Denise Prévost, eds., Edward Elgar, 2013, pp390-408
25 Pages Posted: 9 May 2011 Last revised: 11 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 4, 2011
This paper highlights the growing public health problem posed by non‐communicable diseases ('NCDs') – principally cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – and the crucial role of the WTO in supporting international efforts to combat that problem. Some studies blame international trade for introducing or aggravating burdens on public health such as alcoholism, tobacco addiction, and obesity, which contribute substantially to NCDs. WTO law does contain significant flexibility to enable WTO Members to implement genuine health measures. Nevertheless, certainty of outcomes under WTO dispute settlement, including predictable regulatory freedom, could be further enhanced by the generation of additional scientific evidence concerning the impact of the many available regulatory measures on the risk factors for NCDs, as well as a more holistic understanding of the complex relationship between international trade and these risk factors.
Keywords: WTO, public health, non-communicable diseases, tobacco, alcohol
JEL Classification: K33, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation