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August 14, 2012
Barriers to trade are not always intentional according to WTO report
Non-tariff measures (NTMs), such as regulatory standards for manufactured and agricultural goods, can have a significant impact on trade - possibly even more than tariffs - according to the latest edition of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) yearly report.
According to WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy "a clear trend has emerged in which NTMs are less about shielding producers from import competition and more about the attainment of a broad range of public policy objectives."
The World Trade Report 2012 examines why and how governments use non-tariff measures, including domestic regulation in services. Such measures can serve legitimate goals, such as protecting the health of consumers, but they may also be used for protectionist purposes.
The Report reveals how the expansion of global production chains and the growing importance of consumer concerns in richer countries affect the use of non-tariff measures. It also reports that such measures represent the main source of concerns for exporters.
The Report concludes that the transparency of non-tariff measures needs to be improved and more effective criteria are needed to identify why a measure is used.
Link: World Trade Report 2012 - Trade and public policies: A closer look at non-tariff measures in the 21st century.
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