Trade, Investment and Health

The O’Neill Institute Initiative on Trade, Investment and Health aims to bridge the gap between public health and international trade and investment law. The initiative is focused on the effects of trade and investment agreements on domestic regulatory autonomy.

The initiative fosters legal and multi-disciplinary scholarship on the intersection of trade, investment and health. The initiative also disseminates knowledge about international trade and investment law into the broader public health community, to enhance the ability of health lawyers and policy-makers to engage with international trade and investment agreements. Read More »

Trade and Public Health

Trade and Public Health

Non-communicable diseases, associated with risk factors such as tobacco consumption, poor diet, and alcohol use, represent a growing health burden around the world. The seriousness of non-communicable diseases is reflected in the adoption of international instruments such as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health; and the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol. In line with these instruments, states are beginning to use measures such as taxes, restrictions on marketing, product regulation, and labeling measures for public health purposes. Learn More ›

Tobacco Product Regulation and The WTO

Tobacco Product Regulation and The WTO

In September 2011, the World Trade Organization (WTO) released the report of a panel tasked with considering a complaint brought by Indonesia concerning prohibitions on certain flavored tobacco products implemented by the United States (US). The panel concluded that the US violated WTO law and recommended that the United States be asked to bring its laws into conformity with WTO law. The United States appealed the panel's decision. The Appellate Body of the WTO upheld the panel report on April 4, 2012. This briefing paper provides a basic overview of the Appellate Body's report and examines the implications for tobacco control and public health more generally. Learn More ›

"Confronting the Tobacco Epidemic in a New Era of Trade and Investment Liberalization"

Summer Program

On Monday, the World Health Organization published a paper written by Benn McGrady, who directs the O’Neill Institute Initiative on Trade, Investment and Health. The attached paper updates a 2001 WHO paper by Douglas Bettcher et al entitled 'Tobacco Control in an Era of Trade Liberalization'.  The updated paper, which is targeted at policy makers, provides a simplified overview of how international trade and investment agreements affect tobacco control and sets out a number of approaches to reduce the risks of non-compliance with trade agreements and to reform international investment agreements.

Recent Publications and Papers

Anne Marie Thow and Benn McGrady "Protecting Policy Space for Public Health Nutrition in an Era of International Investment Agreements", Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2014; 92: 139 – 145

Joy Chavez, Jenina, Jeffrey Drope, Raphael Lencucha, and Benn McGrady. The Political Economy of Tobacco Control in the Philippines: Trade, Foreign Direct Invetment and Taxation. Quezon City: American Cancer Society, 2014.

Benn McGrady and Alexandra Jones, Tobacco Control and Beyond: The Broader Implications of US – Clove Cigarettes for Non-Communicable Diseases, American Journal of Law and Medicine, 39(2&3), 265 - 289

B. McGrady, Legalization as an Institutional Choice in the Context of Research and Development, Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2012; 90: 794–794A

B. McGrady, Revisiting TRIPS and Trademarks: The Case of Tobacco, TDM 5 (2012).

Confronting the Tobacco Epidemic in a New Era of Trade and Investment Liberalization

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Recent Activities
  • 6-7 March 2014 Benn McGrady presented on international trade law issues at a workshop on trade and tobacco control organized by the European Commission for EU Member States
  • 10 October 2013 A Chronic Challenge: Non-Communicable Diseases and the Media, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • 30 September - 4 October 2013 In collaboration with the World Health Organization, we provided technical assistance to the governments of Uganda and Nigeria on the intersection of their national trade and tobacco control policies.
  • 3- 5 June 2013 Consultation on Tobacco and Trade, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe
    The O’Neill Institute will provide technical support to WHO for this regional consultation involving representatives from WHO Member States.
  • 17 - 21 June 2013 O’Neill Institute Summer Program on NCDs and the Law

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