“Free trade does in fact appear to be associated with better health outcomes, with the relationship particularly pronounced for lower-income countries.”
Much of the public discourse about free trade focuses on the supposed dangers it poses to the environment, to vulnerable communities around the world and to our health. Geneva Network has teamed up with the IFT to produce a pamphlet explaining the role of open trade in improving public health.
We expand on the following arguments:
- The economic dividend of free trade – higher individual and average incomes – helps improve health by delivering: higher standards of living; more public health spending; and an increase in money spent on health-related R&D.
- When trade happens more freely, knowledge spillovers occur more easily between countries, with medical technologies like antibiotics developed in richer countries reaching the rest of the world more quickly.
- Often thought to be an obstacle to the broad dissemination of new medicines, stronger Intellectual Property Rights are actually associated with speedier in-country launches of new drugs.
- WTO rules ensure that the UK will always be able to guarantee that imported food sold in Britain meets local health and safety standards. Nowadays many food standards are just barriers to trade with no genuine public health justification.
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