A Case Study about Evolution of Non-Tariff Measures: Emerging
Abstract: The objective of the paper is to provide a brief account of the international efforts in understanding non-tariff measure (NTM)-related trade policies. Research and analysis activities began in UNCTAD in the 1980s to define, classify and measure the impact of NTMs on developing countries’ exports and economic growth. Due to changes in trade policies over the past decade, policymakers have required a new set of approaches to define, classify and codify NTMs. A leading role has been taken by UNCTAD in bringing together several international agencies and eminent persons to build consensus on these issues since 2005. The present paper uses the NTMs classification system, which includes several new subcategories for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and technical barriers to trade (TBTs) to appropriately reflect the increasing use and importance of these policy measures.
Introduction: Over the years, multilateral trade negotiations have helped to substantially reduce tariff rates. According to the UNCTAD Trade Analysis and Information System (TRAINS) database, the tariff averages on both agricultural and non-agricultural products declined steadily from 19.9 per cent and 6.7 per cent in 1995 to reach 7.4 per cent and 2.4 per cent in 2008, respectively. This decline in the global tariff barrier is due to eight rounds of multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/WTO, as well as under bilateral and regional arrangements. However, this decline has also raised the relative importance of NTMs, which are used now more than ever before as both protectionist and regulatory trade instruments to control and hamper the free flow of international trade.
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