OECD Trade Policy Studies

1990-1534 (online)
1990-1542 (print)
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A series of OECD reports on various aspects of trade policy. Recent reports have covered such topics as universal access to basic services offered internationally, the role of non-tariff barriers, and environmental requirements and market access.

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Looking Beyond Tariffs

Looking Beyond Tariffs

The Role of Non-Tariff Barriers in World Trade You do not have access to this content

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22 Nov 2005
9789264014626 (PDF) ;9789264014602(print)

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The studies in this volume review concerns that exporters and governments have raised about market access. This publication analyses where and why certain non-tariff measures are being applied to traded goods that are covered by multilateral rules and disciplines, and how they continue to represent challenges for exporters and policy makers. The specific measures examined are prohibitions and quotas, non-automatic import licensing schemes, customs fees and charges and export restrictions. By drawing together available recent data and other information, this volume expands the knowledge base of policy makers, negotiators and anyone interested in learning about the use of these measures across countries, applicable international trade rules and remaining market access issues.
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  • Acronyms
  • Executive Summary
    Addressing measures that restrict or distort trade in non-agricultural goods has been a central element of successive rounds of GATT negotiations since the 1960s. As a result, some policies or measures have been abolished while the use of others has been regulated under international trade rules so that they cannot be abused. The growth of market integration made possible by these achievements is most readily apparent in the growth of trade relative to world income.
  • Overview of Non-tariff Barriers
    Our knowledge of NTBs, of how to assess their effects and the extent to which they may restrict trade is inadequate. Simply identifying the main non-tariff measures is a difficult task and data collected by business surveys can make a contribution. This chapter compiles and analyses findings from survey-based research that help identify barriers perceived by exporters from various countries and regions in foreign markets. It also explores the extent to which different surveys report the same types of barriers. Common areas of concern in many surveys are technical measures, customs rules and procedures and, to a lesser extent, internal taxes or charges and competition-related restrictions on market access.
  • Import Prohibitions and Quotas
    This chapter investigates two specific types of quantitative restrictions, namely import prohibitions and quotas. It reviews information on these measures contained in the WTO Trade Policy Reviews, WTO notifications and in various other trade reports. The aim is to contribute to discussions, particularly on market access for non-agricultural goods, at the WTO or elsewhere. The research reveals that the use of quotas and prohibitions for economic reasons has declined, but most countries use prohibitions as part of their regulatory framework to protect human safety and health or the environment, and the tendency appears to be increasing.
  • Non-automatic Import Licensing
    This chapter looks at the nature and scope of non-tariff measures, specifically nonautomatic import licensing, which is a means of controlling imports linked to compliance with specific criteria. These schemes can be applied for a variety of purposes relating to both economic and non-economic regulatory goals. The use of these measures has been evolving, and significant reforms that have been undertaken over the years have changed the pattern of perceived problems associated with them.
  • Customs Fees and Charges on Imports
    This chapter examines the nature and the extent of the use of customs fees and charges that affect imports at borders. It draws on data collected from WTO Trade Policy Reviews, non-tariff barrier notifications to the Negotiating Group on Market Access (NAMA), and the UNCTAD TRAINS database and country notes. It reveals that most types of customs fees and charges on imports are applied ad valorem rather than on the basis of the underlying costs of the services rendered. The use of customs fees and charges has evolved over time.
  • Export Duties
    This chapter takes stock of the present situation for export duties (tariffs) under the GATT/WTO. It clarifies the definition of export duties and examines existing disciplines at both multilateral and regional levels. It analyses factual information on products subject to such duties drawn from WTO Trade Policy Reviews (TPRs) and describes key findings. Export duties are mainly imposed for fiscal reasons or as a means to restrict exports of particular products in order to reserve the domestic supply for local industries and are applied mainly by developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs). Aspects of possible rule-making on export duties are also addressed.
  • Export Restrictions
    This chapter provides an overview of current disciplines on export restrictions under the GATT/WTO, including the scope of exceptions. Disciplines at the regional level are also reviewed, and information provided by WTO Trade Policy Reviews (TPRs) on the use of different types of export restrictions and the products affected is analysed. The chapter describes some of the rationales for export restrictions and the nature of justifications invoked for exceptions, in particular for economic reasons.
  • Non-tariff Barriers of Concern to Developing Countries
    This chapter identifies non-tariff barriers (NTBs) faced by developing countries in their trade with developed countries and in South-South trade. The goal is to raise awareness of barriers that interfere with the ability of developing countries to build up trade. Data collected and analysed consist of the academic literature, notifications by developing countries to the Negotiating Group on Market Access for Non-Agricultural Products (NAMA) of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), business surveys, and records relating to trade disputes brought before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regional dispute settlement mechanisms.
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