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Evolution Of Non-Tariff Measures: Emerging Cases From Selected Developing Countries


  • Sudip Ranjan Basu
  • Fabien Dumesnil


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. In particular, the paper analyses NTMs-related information from over 2,000 small and medium size firms from seven developing countries (Brazil, Chile, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia and Uganda) to gauge how firms in those countries are affected by NTMs, both at home and abroad. The results clearly indicate high shares of SPS measures and TBTs in all countries. The shares ranged from about 65 per cent in the surveys for India to about 93 per cent for Thailand. The paper also includes the concept of procedural obstacles, which refers to issues related to the process of applying an NTM, rather than the measure itself. About 57 per cent of the procedural barriers faced by exporters are classified as “inefficiency or obstructions”, and 20 per cent as "arbitrariness or inefficiency", while 60 per cent of the procedural barriers faced by importers are concerned with inefficiency or obstructions and 23 per cent with arbitrariness or inefficiency. Another interesting result was that the sectors particularly affected were vegetable products, textiles and clothing, electrical and machinery products and chemical and allied industries. The study concludes that current research and analysis on NTMs will better help policymakers in producing impact assessment analysis of trade-related reforms and will critically act as a vehicle for promoting trade and investment integration processes to expand the depth and opportunities for global cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sudip Ranjan Basu & Fabien Dumesnil, 2012. "Evolution Of Non-Tariff Measures: Emerging Cases From Selected Developing Countries," UNCTAD Blue Series Papers 52, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:unc:blupap:52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 1996. "A New Approach to Evaluating Trade Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 107-125.
    2. John C. Beghin & Jean-Christophe Bureau, 2017. "Quantitative Policy Analysis Of Sanitary, Phytosanitary And Technical Barriers To Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Nontariff Measures and International Trade, chapter 3, pages 39-62 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 2005. "Measuring the Restrictiveness of International Trade Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012200, January.
    4. Fugazza, Marco & Maur, Jean-Christophe, 2008. "Non-tariff barriers in CGE models: How useful for policy?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 475-490.
    5. Michael Ferrantino, 2006. "Quantifying the Trade and Economic Effects of Non-Tariff Measures," OECD Trade Policy Papers 28, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ferrantino, Michael J., 2012. "Using supply chain analysis to examine the costs of non-tariff measures (NTMs) and the benefits of trade facilitation," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2012-02, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    2. repec:taf:rjapxx:v:18:y:2013:i:1:p:1-25 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sudip Basu & Clovis Freire & Pisit Puapan & Vatcharin Sirimaneetham & Yusuke Tateno, 2013. "Euro zone debt crisis: scenario analysis and implications for developing Asia-Pacific," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 1-25.

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