Demystifying Tariffs & Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs)

Demystifying Tariffs & Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs)
Since the inception of General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (GATT) and thereafter the WTO, the member countries have been intensively debating on two major issues pertaining to the Non-agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations. One is eliminating or reducing tariffs on non-agricultural products to a desirable level so as to facilitate free and fair international trade. The second is the recent debate on rationalization of the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) raised by countries as an alterative method to restrict market access instead of tariffs. As regards to tariff reduction principles under Doha Development Round (DDA), the member countries have agreed to adopt the SWISS formula for tariff reduction during the Hong Kong Ministerial conference in 2006. However, the difference still persists on the co-efficient to be adopted for tariff cut among the Developed, Developing and Least Developed countries (LDCs). Though the NAMA negotiations are inching closer to broader consensus on tariffs, off late the issues on NTBs are emerging prominently as a tool for trade protectionism. It is pertinent to mention that in the process of negotiation on NAMA, a plethora of technical terminologies have been used by the negotiators. The terminologies like special and differential (S&D) treatment, tariff escalation and tariff peak, Technical Barrier to Trade (TBTs), Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS), etc and its importance need to be elaborated precisely before the stakeholders for their better understanding.
This monograph attempts to explain the concepts and modalities on tariff and NTBs negotiations
under NAMA in a user friendly simple language for better understanding of the stakeholders. The paper has also tried to cover the issues relating to tariff, NTBs besides the Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) & Free Trade Agreements (FTA), etc. I hope the monograph will be useful to the readers and help in understanding these critical issues.
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