International Trade and Health (ITH)
Who are we
The work on international trade and health at IHPP formally started as International Trade and Health Programme (ITH), one of the priority programmes under the cooperation between the Royal Thai Government and the World Health Organization (WHO). The work began in 2011 with financial and technical support from the network of health agencies under the Royal Thai Government includes the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, National Health Security Office (NHSO), National Health Commission Office (NHCO) and the Health Systems Research Institute (HSR), together with WHO and other partners. The ITH works on four main strategies: Knowledge Generation and Management, Networking, Knowledge Communication and Policy Advocacy, and Capacity Building. The ITH_’s work covers the both sides of linkage between trade and health and health and trade, both FTA and Non-FTA international trade.
The programme also serves as the technical secretariat of the National Commission on International Trade and Health Study (NCITHS), and uses this platform as a channel for policy advocacy and knowledge sharing. At the same time, it also advocates for evidence-based trade and health policy through other avenues by working with the networks. It is expected to enable trade and health policy coherence through the generation of evidence and dissemination of knowledge to policy makers and the public.
Our Areas of work / pillars:
• Trade in health services
• Trade in health products
• Trade and environment
• Trade in food
• Emerging issues from current and future free trade negotiation and economic cooperation
• Other related issues
Changes in geopolitics, technology disruptions, concerns about energy consumption, the use of environmental protection as a barrier to trade, and changes in new trade rules have significant implications for international trade. Linking international trade and health would therefore be more challenging. The inequality in access to medicines, treatments, and vaccines that we witnessed during the pandemic confirms the need for a better global health system and global governance. Moreover, the role of the main global institutions responsible for governing international trade (the World Trade Organization: WTO) and health (World Health Organization: WHO) has been competed by many other players.
Given this situation and factors, a paradigm shift is needed to see trade liberalization as an opportunity for trade and health development and how these sectors can complement each other. This will broaden the scope of trade beyond its traditional aspects and facilitate the trade and health sectors to be more collaborative rather than competitive.