MJIEL Vol 4 Issue 1 2007 - Article 4



This Article explores the possible implications of trade liberalization under the GATS in the complementary and alternative medicine sub sector.  While much has been written about the effects of liberalizing trade in the health sector on a states ability to protect the welfare of its citizens, less time has been spent analyzing whether trade in certain health sub sectors might be more dangerous than others.  Given that the health services sector “ however unwisely “ has been made a prime component of the GATS liberalization framework, it is important to take a closer look at exactly which commitments may be the most beneficial and which the most harmful to countries that undertake them.  This Article argues that liberalization of trade in complementary and alternative medicines poses a number of dangers, but may also prove beneficial in terms of expanding access to medical services and making GATS work for developing countries.  In particular, it examines areas of concern and possible solutions for countries seeking to open their complementary and alternative medical service sectors to more liberalized international trade, emphasizing the twin goals of (1) allowing for the effective regulation of health services to protect the public, and (2) using the progressive liberalization of trade in complementary and alternative health services to benefit developing countries that possess competitive advantages in this sub sector. 

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