Edited by Gian Luca Burci and Brigit Toebes
Chapter 5: Health and international trade law
At the international level, trade agreements serve something of a constitutional function. They discipline regulation and are the primary international legal restraint on government action to protect health. This chapter describes the legal relationship between trade and health by reference to the World Trade Organization covered agreements. Core principles of trade law, such as non-discrimination and necessity, are described for a health audience, along with how these core principles have been applied in WTO dispute settlement. The chapter examines the GATT 1994, the SPS Agreement, TBT Agreement and GATS, but not TRIPS, which is addressed elsewhere in this volume. It is argued that there is a fairly predictable balance between rights (to regulate) and obligations under WTO law that protects bona fide health measures. Today, disputes turn more on the quality and quantity of evidence presented by parties to a dispute than they do on questions of law.
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