International Cooperation Department
The Workshop on Non-tariff Measures (NTMs) was co-organised by The Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Australian Agency for International Development on 15-18th February 2016 in Seam Reap, Cambodia. Representatives from central agencies of Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam attended the workshop. Viet Nam delegation includes public servants working for Ministry of Finance, Industry and Trade, and Agriculture. The Workshop focuses on the following issuses: 1) NTMs Understanding and Classification, 2) Guidelines to collect NTMs, 3) Analysing NTMs in selected countries and 4) Simulation on collecting and classifying NTMs.
Many developing countries have greatly benefitted from integration into the global economy through increased trade in goods and services. Their successful integration in international markets was made possible by the implementation of appropriate conductive polices such as tariff liberalization, as wellas initiatives related to trade facilitation and aid for trade. Over the years, multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/World Trade Organisation (WTO) as well as bilateral and regional arrangements have helped to substantially reduce tariff rates.
Currently, deeper integration into the global ecnomy depends not only on these supportive polices (e.g. tariff liberalization, trade facilitation and aid for trade), but increasingly requires policy responses to various forms of non-tariff measures (NTMs) such as Sanitary and Phytosanitary, and Technical Barriers to Trade.
The commonly used definition of NTMs is that they are policy measures, other than ordinary customs tariffs, that can potentially hav an economic effect on interational trade in goods, chaning quantities traded, or prices or both (UNCTAD 2010).
Trend: Tariff and Non-tariff Measures
In recent research, UNCTAD points out the contrasting trade policies in terms of tariff and non-tariff measures, of which regulation of non-tariff measures have critically increased whereas tariff rates has come up with a downward trend. Having an example of the NTM status of Singapore and Viet Nam. Statitically, Singapore has generated more than 500 NTM regulations while 390 NTMs have applied in Viet Nam. This data implies that the market access and tariff implementation in Singapore is more liberal than Viet Nam.
The rise in the use of NTMs has coincied with an important knowledge gap in understanding the economic effects of such policy instruments and their implications for sustainable development. Policy-makers, particularly in developing countries, necessitate comprehensive understading of how NTMs can affect their export potential, and how to design appropriate policy responses. Although the use of NTMs is often legitimate to address growing non-trade concerns (i.e. environment and consumer protection), these measures can also be driven to protectionism, discriminatory and restriction.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has been actively involved in research and programmatic activities on issues related to NTMs since early. In 1994, it began to collect and classify NTMs. Currently, a Trade Analysis and Information System (TRAINS) database was developed by UNCTAD depending on the official NTMs regulation of member countries. UNCTAD and ERIA has generated A Non-tariff measures Asean Project since 2014. The Central Institue for Economic Management (CIEM) is a representative for Viet Nam in analysing and collecting NTMs data for the Project.
At this workshop, the simulation on collecting and classifying NTMs data in participant countries suggests some issues for Viet Nam: i) NTMs regualtion is inactively collected, Vietnamese is the official language in drafting legal enactments. This requires the cooperation among research institute and participants in providing legal documents in official English version; ii) the database outputs should be publicly announced which support central agencies in drafting relevant policies.