ITC seminar: New challenges and the road ahead with Non-Tariff Measures

3 February 2012
ITC News

The importance of NTMs has greatly increased in the past decades. With consumers demanding more and more information on the products they buy, importing countries put in place more regulations. Even though these regulations do not necessarily have trade policy objectives, they may impact on exporting companies. The majority of the recent trade agreements also include NTM provisions.

With NTMs on the rise, private and public sector decision makers are increasingly concerned about their potential impact on trade. In 2010 the International Trade Centre (ITC) launched a three-year programme to survey enterprises in developing countries about their experiences with NTMs as obstacles to trade. Based on national survey results thus far, NTMs are clearly one of the greatest challenges to exporters from developing countries who often lack the information, capabilities and facilities to meet the complex requirements and demonstrate compliance at reasonable cost.

The keynote speaker, Mr. Alan V. Deardorff, Professor of International Economics at the University of Michigan, will examine protectionist, assistance and non-protectionist NTMs as well as discussing the impact of NTMs on enterprises and looking at the road ahead.

Then Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dhaka, and Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the WTO, the UN Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva, will discuss LDCs and the private sector, giving examples from Bangladesh.

Following that, presentations will be given by H. E. Shree Baboo Chekitan Servansing, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Mauritius to the WTO, who will focus on the African experience, particularly paying attention to case studies from the Mauritius.

After that Guillermo Valles, Director, Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), will give an overview of UNCTAD programmes on NTMs, NTM data collection and classification, transparency, policy view, and capacity building for sustained data collection.

Then Lionel Fontagné, Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics, University of Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, will lead discussions about the private sector perspective and examine NTMs in the service sector.

During this part of the seminar, Mohamed Helmy Helal, President, Futek Egyptian Micro Electronics, President, G.E. Lighting Controls LTD. HK. and Asia, President, Association of Energy Efficiency Engineers; will talk about the experiences of his own company with NTMs and discuss their needs for support.  Mondher Mimouni, Chief ad-interim, Market Analysis and Research section, Division of Market Development, ITC, will also contribute to this session by using the case studies of Burkina Faso and Sri Lanka to outline some results that hold true across countries, such as the fact that technical measures are the type of NTM that is most frequently mentioned by exporters as burdensome.

You can follow the latest updates from the seminar, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, on the ITC twitter account.

Debapriya Bhattacharya presenting at the seminar