This paper demonstrates how a right to health approach in the interpretation of the public health exception outlined in GATS Article XIV(b) can bring about a harmonious application of international human rights and international trade law regimes. Focusing on the interpretive value of the right to health for the public health exception in GATS, it examines whether a WTO Member, who has committed itself under GATS to fully liberalize all service sectors that have implications for health (e.g., hospital and other healthcare services), still retains the regulatory space to undertake measures to fulfill their right to health obligations and can justify a public health measure as incompatible with GATS obligations when undertaken to fulfill its right to health obligation. This paper argues that a right to health approach to an interpretation of the public health exception in GATS can bring complementarity between international human rights and international trade law regimes. A good faith and harmonious interpretation of the public health exception in GATS, taking into account the right to health, further advances systemic integration and responds to the challenge of fragmentation of public international law.
Recommended CitationSwati Gola, Right to Health in GATS: Can the Public Health Exception Pave the Way for Complementarity?, 33 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 75 (2020)
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