Non-tariff measures affect our daily lives: packaging requirements and limits on the use of pesticides ensure safe food; restrictions on toxins in toys protect our children; and emission standards for cars, which have an impact on climate change. Although most of non-tariff measures serve legitimate policy objectives, they often raise costs that can create hurdles to trade and economic development. In most sectors, the restrictiveness of non-tariff measures by far exceeds current tariffs. Particularly in agricultural sectors, developing country exporters face non-tariff measures equivalent to tariffs higher than 20 per cent.
This course will inform delegates on the interfaces between non-tariff measures and the Sustainable Development Goals, to assist policymakers in designing appropriate trade policies and to introduce tools to strengthen regulatory cooperation. The course will explore the findings of UNCTAD work on non-tariff measures, which encompasses mapping of non-tariff measures data and analysis of trade and welfare impacts.
Non-tariff measures have become a major challenge for exporters, importers and policymakers. One challenge is the lack of transparency in trade regulations, as requirements are often buried in legal texts that are difficult to access. The second challenge is to understand the implications of such regulations on economic, social and environmental goals. Lack of transparency and challenges to complying by small and medium-sized producers are not neutral and lead to de facto discrimination. A third challenge is to enhance regulatory cooperation because differences in non-tariff measures are a major burden for smaller producers and lower income countries.