Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
RLabonté et al entitle their paper in this issue of the International Journal of Health Policy and Management “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Is It Everything We Feared for Health?” Tantalisingly, they do not directly answer the question they pose, and in this commentary, we suggest that it is the wrong question; we should not ‘fear’ the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at all, rather we should ask how we are to respond. The public health community is right to be concerned with the potential implications of trade and investment agreements (TIAs) for health, particularly with shifts from multilateral to regional/bilateral agreements including provisions with greater risk to public health. But it is critical to understand also the potential health benefits, and especially the mitigating policy and governance mechanisms to respond to adverse TIA implications. Given entrenched and divergent sectoral worldviews and perspectives between trade and health communities on these issues, achieving the requisite understanding will also likely require characterisation of these perspectives and identification of areas of common understanding and agreed solutions
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