On 14th October, the UN Conference on Trade and Development announced the Asia-Pacific Trade & Investment Report 2019, which says that non-tariff measures (NTM) are now affecting around 58% of trade in Asia and the Pacific. These NTM can include government procurement limitations, subsidies to export and import restrictions as well as import and export bans through unilateral or multilateral sanctions. Meeting these complex and often opaque rules can require significant resources, affecting in particular SME. Most of the NTM are technical regulations, such as sanitary and phytosanitary requirements on food. In summary, while applied tariffs in the Asia-Pacific region have halved over the past 2 decades, the number of NTM – policy regulations other than tariffs affecting international trade – has risen significantly.
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