Research Handbook on Global Health Law
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Research Handbook on Global Health Law

Edited by Gian Luca Burci and Brigit Toebes

The effect of Globalization on health has attracted the attention of scholars and policy makers across multiple disciplines. A key concern is the regulation of international health protection, and in particular the use of international health instruments and the complex interaction between international law and health considerations. For the first time, a group of law and policy scholars have analysed these issues, drawing on knowledge from their respective fields. The resulting book provides comprehensive coverage of contemporary issues in global health law and governance.
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Chapter 5: Health and international trade law

Benn McGrady


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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