Bridging the divide: global governance of trade and health

Lancet. 2009 Jan 31;373(9661):416-22. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61776-6. Epub 2009 Jan 21.


The main institutions responsible for governing international trade and health-the World Trade Organization (WTO), which replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1995, and WHO-were established after World War 2. For many decades the two institutions operated in isolation, with little cooperation between them. The growth and expansion of world trade over the past half century amid economic globalisation, and the increased importance of health issues to the functioning of a more interconnected world, brings the two domains closer together on a broad range of issues. Foremost is the capacity of each to govern their respective domains, and their ability to cooperate in tackling issues that lie at the intersection of trade and health. This paper discusses how the governance of these two areas relate to one another, and how well existing institutions work together.

MeSH terms

  • Commerce* / economics
  • Commerce* / organization & administration
  • Commerce* / trends
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Public Health / economics*
  • Public Health / trends
  • World Health Organization / organization & administration*