Relationship Between Trade And Health

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Introduction

The relationship between trade and health is a complex one. Reflecting on these issues leads to questions on the nature of health itself, and its governance. Ultimately it is an inquiry into whether this relationship is one-sided or reciprocal. The primary investigation is into how trade affects health, the seemingly one-sided relationship. Cornia (2001) provides a search into how globalisation or the liberalisation of international trade can affect public health. He claims that, if well managed, trade liberalisation policies can have positive outcomes on the health situation of many countries. The initial conditions of each country and the way liberal economic policies are implemented matter for the nature of the outcomes.
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Baris and McLeod provide a useful framing of health as a particular type of commodity. This is mirrored in Thomas’ article (2002), although taken further. Indeed, Thomas introduces the problems related to the trade of health as moral issues, and as political issues. The main negative outcome is that of access to health. Through the example of ARV drugs, Thomas shows how these matters reveal the power structures in the global economy and the treatment of health as a commodity, subordinate to the imperatives of profit making.

These different approaches relate to three areas of analysis. First, the specificity of health and health care as tradable goods is that health is an exceptional object of trade. Second, these three articles effectively express how the liberalisation of trade in health can have positive effects as well as negative outcomes. However, the question appears of whether health should be an object of trade at all. Finally, Thomas (2002) as well as Baris and McLeod (2000) take the analysis to a higher level by demonstrating that the relationship between trade and health can in fact be a reciprocal one.
Health as an exceptional object of trade

The first point, and that which is essential to the analysis, is how health is an exceptional object of trade because it is linked to certain moral imperatives. According
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