Trade policy and public health

Sharon Friel, Libby Hattersley, Ruth Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Twenty-first-century trade policy is complex and affects society and population health in direct and indirect ways. Without doubt, trade policy influences the distribution of power, money, and resources between and within countries, which in turn affects the natural environment; people's daily living conditions; and the local availability, quality, affordability, and desirability of products (e.g., food, tobacco, alcohol, and health care); it also affects individuals' enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. In this article, we provide an overview of the modern global trade environment, illustrate the pathways between trade and health, and explore the emerging twenty-first-century trade policy landscape and its implications for health and health equity. We conclude with a call for more interdisciplinary research that embraces complexity theory and systems science as well as the political economy of health and that includes monitoring and evaluation of the impact of trade agreements on health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-344
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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