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Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2019

Navigating Non-tariff Measures towards Sustainable Development

image of Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2019

This report provides an analysis of the rise of non-tariff measures (NTMs) and its implications for Asia and the Pacific. Prepared jointly by ESCAP and UNCTAD, it reviews the costs and benefits associated with such measures from a sustainable development perspective, and identifies good practices to ensure that they serve their legitimate social or environmental purpose while not unnecessarily and negatively affecting trade and investment. The report focuses on the rise of NTMs and why they matter for sustainable development. It delves on the impact of NTMs in Asia and the Pacific, explores their relationship to international standards and discusses streamlining NTMs for Sustainable Development.

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Executive summary

During the past two decades, thanks to multilateral and regional trade agreements (RTAs) as well as unilateral efforts, applied tariffs in the Asia-Pacific region have been halved. At the same time, the number of non-tariff measures (NTMs), including sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and technical barriers to trade (TBTs), has risen significantly. NTMs often serve legitimate and important public policy objectives, but their trade costs are estimated to be more than double that of ordinary customs tariffs. The economic cost of SPS and TBT measures is estimated to be up to 1.6% of global gross domestic product, amounting to $1.4 trillion. As such, they have become a key concern for traders as well as for trade policymakers aiming to ensure that trade can continue to support sustainable development.

English

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