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Special Feature – No. 07
No Ordinary Commodity:
Trade, Big Alcohol and Alcohol Harm
There is a long history of trade agreements and trade policy ignoring the harm that could be caused to public health. These trade and investment agreements and policies have widespread effects on the health and well-being of people and communities. When the alcohol trade is not looked at from a public health perspective, trade policies can erode, derail or block public health alcohol policy measures.
The alcohol industry is continuously expanding to newer markets especially in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) through various mergers and acquisitions. Thus, resulting in powerful multinational Big Alcohol players. In LMICs, these Big Alcohol players wield even more influence over trade policies than in high-income countries.
Big Alcohol seeks to increase profits through trade policy. As a profit-seeking industry, it does not prioritize the public health effect of its products but wields its influence on trade policies to maximize profits. Any global action to prevent and reduce alcohol harm is swiftly undermined by the organized global alcohol industry, as it can threaten their profits, with the trade policy arena being a parallel space shaping alcohol policy, just without any public health considerations.
But alcohol products are no ordinary commodity. The alcohol industry has wide-ranging negative effects on the health, social and economic development of countries, specifically in LMICs. Governments and global public health agencies must ensure the prevention of alcohol problems or at the very least stop worsening alcohol problems through trade policy solely in the interest of Big Alcohol.
Read the complete Special Feature about alcohol and trade, here. It includes even more detailed background information and analysis about:
- How Big Alcohol’s capture of trade policy threatens health and development in developing countries,
- Case studies that expose the health harm of TTIP, CETA, TPPA, and other trade and investment agreements, and
- Latest scientific analysis about alcohol industry, trade, and health harms
The Alcohol Issues Podcast
S2 E5: How Big Alcohol Uses the World Trade Organization to Influence Global Alcohol Policy
Public health and human rights are at a serious disadvantage in trade and investment negotiations where preference is given to alcohol industry interests.
How and to what extent the alcohol industry uses the trade policy arena to shape alcohol policy around the world remains poorly understood. This conversation with Dr. Pepita Barlow sheds light on the issue and provides deep insights into a parallel arena that shapes health policy, without public health expertise even being present.
This episode provides profound new insights into a topic that needs much more attention.
In this episode host Maik Dünnbier talks with Dr Pepita Barlow about groundbreaking new research shedding light on how the alcohol industry uses the World Trade Organization to interfere against public health oriented alcohol policy development.
Pepita Barlow is an Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics. Previously, Dr Barlow was a Research Associate at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and completed a DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford. Pepita’s research examines how policies and actors outside the health sector impact on health and health policy, with a particular focus on using novel methods and data to study the health impacts of trade policies and agreements.