Public Health Policy Space for Responding to Potential Pandemics Under the SCM Agreement

Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 201-238, March 2022

38 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2022

See all articles by Ying-Jun Lin

Ying-Jun Lin

Chung Yuan Christian University

Feng-jen Tsai

Taipei Medical University

Date Written: March 30, 2022

Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, trade measures are popular to countries to secure and strengthen the health care system’s capacity. Subsidies are one of the trade measures to boost the production of medical products and build up the domestic supply chain. The article explores the legality of a subsidy responding pandemics under the framework of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (hereinafter “SCM Agreement”). The analyses reveal that the uncertainty inherent to pandemic responses does not automatically exempt governments’ financial contributions from the governance of the SCM Agreement. Two solutions are proposed to reserve policy space for public health subsidies. One is to reconsider the relevance of the precautionary principle in interpretation of the SCM Agreement; another is to reflect the balancing policy in the SCM Agreement. A point central to the two solutions is harmonizing the international trade governance and global health governance in response to pandemics. Besides, the article highlights the role of regional governance in managing the emergency supply-demand imbalance caused by public health threats and exploring new subsidy rules.

Keywords: COVID-19, the uncertainty of infectious diseases and policy responses, SCM Agreement, public health subsidies, precautionary principle, global health security, regional governance

Suggested Citation

Lin, Ying-Jun and Tsai, Feng-jen, Public Health Policy Space for Responding to Potential Pandemics Under the SCM Agreement (March 30, 2022). Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 201-238, March 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4077567

Ying-Jun Lin (Contact Author)

Chung Yuan Christian University

22 Pu-Jen, Pu-chung Li
Chung-Li, 32023
Taiwan

Feng-jen Tsai

Taipei Medical University ( email )

250 Wu-Hsing Street
Taipei
Taiwan

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
23
Abstract Views
73
PlumX Metrics