Source: Journal of Health Diplomacy
Against the background of stalled negotiations in the World Trade Organization
(WTO), there has been a proliferation of bilateral and regional trade agreements.
Most of these contain provisions which go beyond existing WTO agreements in the
protection of intellectual property (IP), and raise concerns about the ability of low
and middle-income countries to provide affordable drugs for their populations. An
extreme case is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now under negotiation among eleven countries. Competing interests within and among countries, evolving alliances and economic ties, and external factors present a challenge for health
diplomacy at the intersection of health and trade. With the emergence of new economic power centres, low and middle-income countries have wider choice for trade
partnerships and do not have to accept agreements that are incompatible with their
policy objectives. The situation calls for a more sophisticated and inclusive style of
health diplomacy than we have seen up to now.
Here we will review the background and contents of the TPPA, and then examine
choices facing Thailand as it considers joining TPPA negotiations.