Non-Tariff Measures identified as one of the biggest impediments to trade
The presentations stimulated discussion about the growing importance of non-tariff measures (NTMs) in the current international trade and trading system, and the compounding problem of lack of transparency in the system.
The significance of such obstacles was emphasized by Mr. Aeroe who told participants that in ITC’s client surveys on NTMs, all respondents – trade support institutions (TSIs), governments and the private sector – mentioned NTMs among the top three challenges to developing exports. ITC’s NTM surveys are meant to give stakeholders the opportunity to identify the barriers to trade faced when doing business.
Mr. Aeroe added, however, ‘Our ultimate goal is to encourage countries to solve this problem alone or with other regional and international organisations. That is why, once we have results and before publishing them, we go back to the country surveyed and hold a national stakeholder meeting, bringing together the government, TSIs, the private sector and other institutions and agencies to discuss the findings and establish a set of recommendations for further action. ‘ These discussions have led to concrete actions including in Burkina Faso and Sri Lanka.
Mr. Alan Deardoff, Professor, University of Michigan, and Mr. Bernard Hoekman, Director, International Trade Development, World Bank, also provided their expertise on the panel, which was moderated by Mr. Guillermo Valles, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services.
Panellists also discussed the Transparency in Trade (TNT) initiative, which aims to bring to light information about NTMs. ITC, UNCTAD, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank are working in partnership on TNT.