Skip to main content

Trade and health: how World Trade Organization(WTO) law affects alcohol and public health

Baumberg Geiger, Ben, Anderson, Peter (2008) Trade and health: how World Trade Organization(WTO) law affects alcohol and public health. Addiction, 103 (12). pp. 1952-1958. ISSN 0965-2140. (doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02322.x) (KAR id:34384)

PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download (175kB) Preview
[thumbnail of 2008 Addiction post-print_Trade and Health_ How WTO.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


The alcohol field is becoming more aware of the consequences of world trade law for alcohol policies. However,

there is a need for greater clarity about the different effects of trade on alcohol-related harm. Methods A comprehensive review of all literature on alcohol and world trade [including World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes on alcohol], supported by amore selective review of other relevant cases, academic reports and the grey literature on trade and health. Results The burden of WTO law on alcohol policies depends upon the type of policy in question. Purely protectionist policies are likely to be struck down, which may lead to increases in alcohol-related harm. Partly protectionist and partly health-motivated policies are also at risk of being struck down. However, purely health-motivated policies are likely to be defended by the WTO—and to the extent that policy makers misunderstand this, they are needlessly avoiding effective ways of reducing alcohol-related harm. Conclusions WTO agreements contain genuine and substantial risks to alcohol policies, and various ways of minimizing future risks are suggested. However, the‘chilling effect’ of mistakenly overestimating these constraints should be avoided. Health policy makers should decide on which policies to pursue based primarily on considerations of effectiveness, ethics and politics rather than legality. As long as any effect of these policies on trade is minimized, they are overwhelmingly likely towin any challenges at the WTO.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02322.x
Uncontrolled keywords: Alcohol policy, alcohol-related harm, globalization, international law, public health, trade agreements, World Trade Organization.
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Mita Mondal
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2013 10:34 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Baumberg Geiger, Ben:
  • Depositors only (login required):