Public Health Implications of Nepal’s WTO Membership
Nepal’s membership to the WTO has opened many economic opportunities as well as challenges for Nepal. Turning opportunities into reality is itself a challenge for Nepal. Its implications for various segments of society and sectors of the economy are much debatable. Similarly, there is a wide spectrum of concern of researchers and health policy experts on its public health implications. Membership can affect the public health situation both directly or indirectly, and also positively and negatively. Many WTO agreements including TBT, SPS, TRIPS, GATS and AoA have significant importance for public health issues, especially for developing and least developed countries. Being a least developed member country of WTO, Nepal needs appropriate policy measures and efforts to maximize its positive effects while mitigating the negative ones. Ensuring health and trade policy coherence, encouraging research and development activities, improving the capacity of pharmaceutical production, and improvement in the availability of health services are crucial to seize the opportunities opened by WTO membership in the area of public health.
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