Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2019

Navigating Non-tariff Measures towards Sustainable Development

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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.




Fuelled by legitimate public policy concerns, as well as ongoing trade tensions, the number of non-tariff measures (NTMs) has risen significantly. While NTMs often serve important public policy objectives linked to sustainable development, the trade costs associated with NTMs are estimated to be more than double that of tariffs. As such, they have become a key concern for traders as well as for trade policymakers aiming to ensure that trade can continue to be an effective Means of Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


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