Non-tariff measures affect trade in APAC
Unctad's Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2019 was recently published in Geneva (Switzerland). The report finds that, while applied tariffs in the Asia-Pacific region have halved over the past two decades, the number of non-tariff measures (NTMs) rose significantly, now affecting around 58% of trade in Asia and the Pacific.
One reason for the rise of NTMs is their growing popularity as weapons of trade policy in regional and global trade tensions. This can include government procurement limitations, subsidies to export and import restrictions as well as import and export bans through unilateral or multilateral sanctions. However, the report also notes that NTMs as policy instruments can often be legitimate, such as sanitary and phytosanitary requirements on food.
The average cost of these measures alone amounts to 1.6 % of GDP, roughly USD 1.4 trillion globally. Looking ahead, the report also highlights that trade costs of NTMs can be significantly reduced by moving to paperless trade and cross-border electronic exchange of information.
This could lower costs by 25% on average in the region, generating savings for both governments and traders of over USD 600 billion annually. The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report is published annually. (cd)