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Globalization and Health

, 11:14

First Online: 21 March 2015Received: 01 December 2014Accepted: 05 March 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12992-015-0099-7

Cite this article as: Walls, H.L., Smith, R.D. & Drahos, P. Global Health 2015 11: 14. doi:10.1186-s12992-015-0099-7


Modern trade negotiations have delivered a plethora of bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements PTAs, which involve considerable risk to public health, thus placing demands on governments to strengthen administrative regulatory capacities in regard to the negotiation, implementation and on-going management of PTAs. In terms of risk management, the administrative regulatory capacity requisite for appropriate negotiation of PTAs is different to that for the implementation or on-going management of PTAs, but at all stages the capacity needed is expensive, skill-intensive and requires considerable infrastructure, which smaller and poorer states especially struggle to find. It is also a task generally underestimated. If states do not find ways to increase their capacities then PTAs are likely to become much greater drivers of health inequities. Developing countries especially struggle to find this capacity. In this article we set out the importance of administrative regulatory capacity and coordination to manage the risks to public health associated with PTAs, and suggest ways countries can improve their capacity.

KeywordsTrade policy Trade agreements Regulatory capacity Health inequities AbbreviationsANVISANational Sanitary Surveillance Agency of Brazil

IPIntellectual property

PTAsPreferential trade agreements

TRIPsAgreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

WTOWorld Trade Organization

WTO-plusProvisions in preferential trade agreements that go further than those in existing WTO agreements

WTO-XProvisions in preferential trade agreements that are outside the scope of existing WTO agreements

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Author: Helen L Walls - Richard D Smith - Peter Drahos



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