Over the years, multilateral trade negotiations have helped to substantially reduce tariff rates. Non-tariff measures (NTMs) cover sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT), import and export licensing, export restrictions, customs surcharges, anti-dumping and safeguard measures, among others. While tariffs have been reduced, the number of NTMs is increasing and is often blamed to be a source of the lack of integration in ASEAN. However, unlike tariffs, NTMs could play a role of check and balance for the quality of goods. In spite of their growing importance in regulating trade, the exact impact of NTMs on trade flows is not very well understood. There is an urgent need to develop a better understanding and transparency of existing NTMs.
The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and UNCTAD collected and classified NTMs in the 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam). We worked on all regulations and official documents including international conventions adopted by countries which were in effect by January 2015. The project consists of two phases: NTM data collection (the data were released in January 2016) and country report (April 2016) and data analyses on how NTMs will affect trade in the region (January 2017). The project aims to (i) collect, validate, and store NTM data from official sources; (ii) improve the general understanding of these measures and their impact on world trade; and (iii) provide insights on NTMs in 10 countries.
The project is led by Lili Yan Ing (ERIA) and Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba (UNCTAD). The core team consists of Michelle Ayu Chinta Kristy, Rizqy Anandhika, Chi Le Ngo, Maxim Gubarev, Fabien Dumesnil, and Denise Penello Rial. The project is advanced by supervision and comments from Shujiro Urata (ERIA), Ralf Peters (UNCTAD), Olivier Cadot (Lausanne University), Ponciano Intal Jr. (ERIA), and Guillermo Valles Galmez (UNCTAD).
The project also significantly benefited from the supervision and support of ASEAN Senior Economic officials and government officials at in line ministries and agencies working on NTMs, particularly Rebecca Fatimah (MITI Malaysia), Sulaimah Mahmood (MTI Singapore), Donna Gultom (MOT Indonesia), Phuong Van Hoang (MIT Vietnam), Mark Ng (MTI Singapore). Along the way of conducting the project, we presented the initial work at the ASEAN’s Senior Economic Officials Meeting in August 2015 and the preliminary findings at ASEAN’s High Level Task Force in January 2016 and East Asian Senior Officials Meeting in April 2016. ERIA and UNCTAD sincerely thank the 10 ASEAN governments for their intellectual and financial contribution and kind co-operation to succeed the project. ASEAN has successfully led in improving transparency of NTMs. UNCTAD acknowledges financial support for its NTM programme (partners and donors) including the "NTM data collection for TPP countries" project supported by GRIPS. The research fund for the “Non-Tariff Measures in ASEAN” project provided by ERIA (RA-001-001-406) is gratefully acknowledged.
The successful work would not have been possible without the invaluable work of the ASEAN national teams consisting of the following economists and government officials: