Trade for Health
Trade for Health, not health for trade! The objective of EPHA’s campaign on EU international trade policy is to protect and promote public health, to ensure policy coherence between trade and public health and to guarantee policy and regulatory space for governments and the EU.
About our work on international trade
EPHA is the main public health NGO engaging with international trade at the European level. This is reflected in the fact that EPHA is the only health NGO member of the European Commission‘s Expert Group on Trade, which regularly meets to discuss the latest developments in trade negotiations and policy, and to enable stakeholders to give input to the European Commission.
EPHA’s work to mainstream public health in international trade
EPHA’s work on trade issues dates back to 2013, beginning with advocacy around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, which, at that time, was high on the EU agenda. As the EU holds the exclusive right to negotiate trade deals on behalf of the Member States, Brussels is the centre of European trading decisions. Although international trade might seem unrelated to public health, the way in which trade of alcohol, food and tobacco has developed, as well as the way in which rules regarding regulatory cooperation, investor protection rules limiting the health policy space, intellectual property rights, public procurement and public services clauses are set, has resulted in trade having a a wide-ranging impact, affecting many areas of health directly.
To highlight this impact , at the 11th July 2018 meeting of the Trade Expert Group, EPHA requested the opportunity to present the EPHA Risk Register covering the EU‘s negotiations with Latin America (Mercosur, Mexico, Chile), under the agenda point on Mercosur negotiations. EPHA’s contribution focused on the relationship between trade and tobacco-related health problems as well as the importance of health impact assessments of trade agreements. Based on the Latin America Risk Register EPHA has developed a general risk register which includes recommendations for future EU trade agreements to protect health.
EPHA also elaborated on the health impacts of TTIP and the EU-Canada equivalent, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). EPHA was one of the health members of the now-frozen TTIP advisory group, while the declaration attached to CETA mentions public health several times. The EPHA publication ‘The unhealthy side effects of CETA is available here