Assessing the Health Impact of Trade: A Call for an Expanded Research Agenda; Comment on “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Is It Everything We Feared for Health?”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Abstract

Labonté et al provide an insightful analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its impact on a selection of important health determinants. Their work confirms concerns raised by previous analyses of leaked drafts and offers governments serious and timely reasons to carefully consider provisions of the agreement prior to moving forward with ratification. It also contributes more generally to a growing literature focused on identifying the health impacts of trade. This commentary uses the authors’ analysis as a starting point to reflect on two interrelated issues relevant both for taking seriously one of the article’s main recommendations and future work in the area of trade and health.

Keywords

Main Subjects


  1. Labonté R, Schram A, Ruckert A. The Trans-Pacific Partnership: is it everything we feared for health? Int J Health Policy Manag. 2016;6(5):487-496. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2016.41
  2. Hirono K, Haigh F, Gleeson D, Harris P, Thow AM, Friel S. Is health impact assessment useful in the context of trade negotiations? A case study of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. BMJ Open. 2016;6(4):e010339. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010339
  3. Friel S, Gleeson D, Thow AM, et al. A new generation of trade policy: potential risks to diet-related health from the trans pacific partnership agreement. Glob Health. 2013;9:46. doi:10.1186/1744-8603-9-46
  4. World Health Commission. Closing the gap in a generation. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008 http://www.who.int/social_determinants/thecommission/finalreport/en/. Accessed June 30, 2016.
  5. Blouin C, Chopra M, van der Hoeven R. Trade and social determinants of health. Lancet. 2009;373(9662):502-507. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(08)61777-8
  6. McNamara C. Trade liberalization, social policies and health: an empirical case study. Glob Health. 2015;11:42. doi:10.1186/s12992-015-0126-8
  7. Link BG, Phelan J. Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. J Health Soc Behav. 1995;Spec No:80-94. doi:10.2307/2626958
  8. Capaldo J, Izurieta A, Sundaram JK. Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks  of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University; 2016. http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/policy_research/TPP_simulations.html. Accessed April 22, 2016.
  9. Bambra C. Work, Worklessness, and the Political Economy of Health. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011.
  10. Parry J, Stevens A. Prospective health impact assessment: pitfalls, problems, and possible ways forward. BMJ. 2001;323:1177-1182. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7322.1177
  11. Krieger N, Northridge M, Gruskin S, et al. Assessing health impact assessment: multidisciplinary and international perspectives. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2003;57:659-662. doi:10.1136/jech.57.9.659
  12. Schram A, Labonté R, Baker P, Friel S, Reeves A, Stuckler D. The role of trade and investment liberalization in the sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages market: a natural experiment contrasting Vietnam and the Philippines. Glob Health. 2015;11:41. doi:10.1186/s12992-015-0127-7
  13. Baker P, Friel S, Schram A, Labonté R. Trade and investment liberalization, food systems change and highly processed food consumption: a natural experiment contrasting the soft-drink markets of Peru and Bolivia. Glob Health. 2016;12:24. doi:10.1186/s12992-016-0161-0
  14. Fa’alili-Fidow J, McCool J, Percival T. Trade and health in Samoa: views from the insiders. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:309. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-309
  15. Buse K, Mays N, Walt G. Making Health Policy. UK: McGraw-Hill Education; 2012.
  16. Walt G, Gilson L. Reforming the health sector in developing countries: the central role of policy analysis. Health Policy Plan 1994;9:353-370. doi:10.1093/heapol/9.4.353
  17. Benach J, Mutaner C, Santana V. Employment conditions and health inequalities, Final report to the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health Employment Conditions Knowledge Network. Published 2007.
  18. Smith R, Blouin C, Mirza Z, Beyer P, Drager N, editors. Trade and Health: Towards building a National Strategy. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015 http://www.who.int/phi/documents/trade-and-health/en/. Accessed October 11, 2015.
  19. Smith RD, Lee K, Drager N. Trade and health: an agenda for action. Lancet. 2009;373:768-773. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(08)61780-8