Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

Trade and Health

WHO works to achieve greater policy coherence between trade and health policy so that international trade and trade rules maximize health benefits and minimize health risks, especially for poor and vulnerable populations. The focus is to strengthen capacities in the ministries of health to best enable them to work effectively with their colleagues in the ministries of trade, commerce and finance in efforts to shape and manage the trade policy environment for health.

Diagnostic Tool on Trade and Health

The WHA Resolution 59.26 on International trade and health calls upon WHO to provide support for Member States to understand the implications of international trade and trade agreements for health and to address relevant issues through policies and legislation.

To implement this resolution, WHO is developing a diagnostic tool and companion workbook that will guide national policymakers building public policies and strategies related to trade and health.

Trade and Health Statements and Resolutions



The following papers are in draft form for restricted distribution only. They reflect work in progress. For further information, please write to

  • Sauvé P. Managing trade liberalization in services: regulatory frameworks for market opening. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Smith R. Measuring the globalization of health services: a possible index of openness of country health sectors to trade. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Jutamas Arunanondchai and Carsten Fink. Trade in Health Services in the ASEAN Region. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Anne Andermann, Benedikte Dal, Jens Gobrecht, Andreas Reis, Nick Drager and Alex Capron. Ethical dimensions of trade in health services: an analytical framework to promote greater policy coherence. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Rupa Chanda. Trade Policy and Health Human Resources Planning. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Arunanondchai J, Fink C. Trade in Health Services in the ASEAN Region, Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Chanda R. Trade Policy and Health Human Resources Planning, Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Nielson J. 10 steps before making comitments in health services under GATS. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Chanda R, Smith R. Trade in health services and GATS: a framework for policy makers. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Fidler D. et al. Making comitments in health services under the GATS: the legal dimensions. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Blouin C. Making comitments in health services under the GATS: a methodology for impact assessment. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Labonte R, Schrecker T. Making comitments under the GATS: a public health perspective. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Song JK. Trade in health services: Korea. Geneva, World Health Organization.

  • Woodward D. Food security, nutrition and health: implications of trade liberalization and the WTO agreements. Geneva, World Health Organization.


Chapter 11 of this Handbook " Trade in Health Services and the GATS" edited by Richard Smith, Chantal Blouin, Nick Drager, and David P. Fidler elucidates from both the trade and health perspectives the nature and implications of international trade in the health sector, and thus it assists the formulation of trade policy and international negotiations in the health sector.