Breaking down non-tariff barriers in the international trade of agrifood
Why is reducing non-tariff measures a matter of global concern? On a global scale, there has been a tendency towards freeing up trade and removing obstacles, as highlighted by the recent spate of international free trade treaties. Clear and measurable benefits of these treaties have been the reduction or elimination of tariffs. However, as recognized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, non-tariff measures (NTMs) continue to present major challenges for exporters, importers and policymakers. There is a wide spectrum of NTMs used in international trade today. This article shows the insights on the challenges of NTMs, drawing on the experience and expertise of our Australia, China and Europe-based offices, each of which regularly advises on international trade matters. Despite the difficulties created by NTMs, the outlook is not all bleak. Procedures for addressing the challenges of NTMs have been included in recently agreed international trade treaties and advances are being made at the domestic level to alleviate the burdens of NTMs.