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Health Equity in a Globalizing EraPast Challenges, Future Prospects$
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Ronald Labonté and Arne Ruckert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198835356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198835356.001.0001

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Trade and investment liberalization

Trade and investment liberalization

The health complications of ‘free’ trade

(p.114) Chapter 6 Trade and investment liberalization
Health Equity in a Globalizing Era

Ronald Labonté

Arne Ruckert

Oxford University Press

One of the major drivers of contemporary global market integration is trade and investment liberalization. Disease risks and health opportunities have long travelled the same routes of trade and commerce. Today’s binding and complex trade rules introduce new health complications. Using a number of recent trade agreements as exemplars, this chapter reviews the basic premises of liberalization, its claimed benefits, its purported or actual health risks, and how different provisions in trade and investment treaties (which unlike most global governance rules carry economic enforcement measures) are constraining important public health policy flexibilities in countries that are party to such agreements. From initial opposition to trade liberalization in general, progressive global health movements now focus more on how such rules could be written or revised in order to protect governments’ regulatory policy space, and to promote greater global health equity.

Keywords:   trade treaties, World Trade Organization, GATT, Free Trade Agreements, investment treaties, NAFTA, CPTPP, CETA, regulatory chill

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