Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade

The shoot for trade liberalization has been on the upswing because the establishment of the World Trade Company (WTO) following a negotiations undergone at the Uruguay Circular in 1995. The WTO, which matters 153 member countries till now, addresses at least 97% of global trade (Sloman, 2006). In the same way as its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the WTO's main target is to eliminate any needless hurdles that prevent trade to stream as fluidly as is feasible. Due to that, it urges all its users to abide by a well-defined set of rules regulating trade relations. These include namely

Trade without discrimination: The WTO provides for a 'most-favoured country' clause, whereby all members should treat their trade lovers fairly and equitably. Any edge granted to confirmed country (like reducing of tariffs for example) should as well apply to all WTO signatories without the discrimination whatsoever. However, Article XXIV of the GATT pertaining to customs unions and free trade areas can be an exception compared to that guideline, as it allows member countries to discriminate between associates and non-partners;

Predictability: Member countries can boost tariff rates and then the amount where they have negotiated with the counterparts for so doing. The recourse to quotas is also strictly prohibited;

Promoting good competition: In the case where a country is confronted with restrictive trade measures, the WTO allows the latter to retaliate with similar methods; and

Special and Differential Treatment: Growing and less developed countries should be given an extended hold off in view of putting into action WTO procedures properly.

An interesting simple truth is that unlike the GATT, the WTO is vested with disciplinary capabilities which it can use against those countries which do not adhere to those aforementioned concepts. For instance, in 2002, the WTO ruled that the protectionist procedures adopted by President Bush to preserve the US metal industry, by means of tariffs imposed on metal imports, were illegitimate and subsequently allowed the European union and other complaining countries to retaliate by imposing similar tariffs on US goods. As a result, Chief executive Bush later decided to take away the said tariffs. This example is an obvious illustration of how sanctions considered by the WTO can contribute to the eradication of tariffs and further promote the harmonization of trade relations.

The minimizing of tariffs and other trade barriers has also been on the agenda of the various trade rounds that contain taken place since the introduction of the GATT seeing back to 1947. The arrangement reached at the Uruguay Round in April 1994 was viewed as a major step of progress towards addressing that one issue. The average tariff level on manufactured products at that specific time was believed to be around 4% and still declining, and the said contract set out an idea to substantially decrease the amount of tariffs and non-tariff obstacles by 2002.

Despite the relentless attempts made by the WTO, the free trade objective is far from being attained, judging by the immediate proliferation of non-tariff obstacles (NTBs) to trade that has been witnessed on the global field because the Tokyo Circular of negotiations (1973-1979), where they have been first handled. Empirical evidence has shown that non-manufactured goods are those that are likely to come in contact with NTBs. It has been the situation notably with agricultural products, where export subsidies awarded to European union and US based farmers have been the subject of virulent criticism from developing countries on the foundation that farmers within these economies cannot compete keenly against subsidised agricultural products originating from rich countries. This culminated in an interim agreement being concluded at Geneva in July 2004 pertaining to the matter in question, whereby the EU was asked to cease the subsidising of its agricultural exports.

The EU also experienced a rise in NTBs during the 1980s, albeit the common economical and trade guidelines adopted by member expresses. These obstacles have been put on a variety of activities, and consisted particularly of fees on brought in products, subsidies or taxes reliefs being granted to indigenous companies, government deals being given to local businesses instead of overseas ones and non-recognition of abroad qualifications by some member countries amongst others (Sloman, 2006).

Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade


These can be defined as ceilings enforced on the importation of a certain product predicated on its amount or value, and which apply during a specific time frame. Quotas can be put in place both as a way of measuring protectionism to permit infant establishments to nurture properly so that as an economic tool for the regulation of imports, by protecting against international products from coming into the neighborhood market 'en masse'. As the consequences of the quota are definitely more predictable and certain than those of tariffs, governments can resort to them over a short-term basis to rectify any anomaly in market conditions. By adding to limit the quantity of foreign currency that would be spent on buying imports, quotas may possibly also reduce a deficit in the balance of payments of the country, which would have the effect of providing its economy back again on track.

However, one of the major downsides associated with quotas is that they often times incite countries against which they have been imposed to retaliate with similar actions, thereby making a trade war. Furthermore, the imposition of transfer quotas can put certain organizations, especially those people who have been given transfer licenses, in a monopoly position in the business to that they apply. Therefore that the increase in price after the use of a quota could be totally given birth to by consumers. Similarly, restricting the supply of a product by means of an transfer quota would cause area of the domestic demand to be diverted towards locally produced substitutes, and the increase in demand for these home products would subsequently lead to a growth in their price. All of this would end up with consumers being quite limited in terms of preference.


Amongst all NTBs that contain become known so far, embargoes are certainly looked at by many as the utmost extreme way of restricting trade. By meaning, an embargo is an order from the government prohibiting any form of trade with a particular country, and generally applies to both imports and exports. The rationale justifying the recourse to embargoes against certain countries has been proved to be purely politics. For example, the united states has been applying them generally to sanction those countries with which it stocks tense diplomatic relations. These include says such as North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Libya and Ivory Coast but to say a few of them.

Import Licensing

Broadly speaking, import licenses are simply just administrative documents that give their respected holders the exclusive to import a given product from other countries. Making imports conditional upon licensing can assist in the duty of the government in trying to manage quotas properly. Transfer licenses nevertheless might bring about rampant problem and bribery within an economy, as companies would be tempted to make financial inducements to attempt to obtain such privilege. Additionally it is argued that they give monopoly power to their holders on the market for imported goods.

Rules regulating the implementation of transfer licenses are embodied in the Agreement on Import Licensing Methods, which defines the licensing of imports as 'administrative techniques requiring the distribution of an application or other paperwork to the relevant administrative body as a prior condition for importation of goods' (WTO, 2008). The Contract further areas that governments must do their utmost to disclose the procedures mixed up in granting of licenses to potential applicants. Moreover, it specifies obviously that member countries should give notice to the WTO prior to creating or amending transfer licensing techniques. The Contract also models out the relevant requirements on which the analysis of applications for such licenses should be predicated on.

Export Subsidies

The subsidizing of exports could very well be typically the most popular form of NTB in international trade because of its wide application. The aim behind an export subsidy is to lower the price of the product for which it has been given so that it becomes more competitive in foreign markets. This technique of artificially lowering export prices is also called dumping. Notice should be studied that subsidies are generally granted to alleviate the costs that can be incurred by a firm during the exporting process, like freight costs and traditions duties for instance. Export subsidies do not only improve a country's exports but can as well become an effective tool encouraging domestic businesses to continue development on home dirt, which could bring long-term benefits to the market (in terms of occupation creation, constant supply of revenue for the federal government through corporate taxation or technology diffusion). Local organizations would remain in status quo so long as exportation costs do not surpass that of doing business abroad.

But the key drawback with export subsidies is that importing countries can retaliate by using countervailing responsibilities. Consider the situation where the EU chooses to subsidise the export of agricultural products to the united states to enhance their competitiveness. THE UNITED STATES, after exploration, could behave by implementing countervailing duties equal to or higher than the subsidy involved. In the end, the initial subsidy distributed by the European union could prove to be somewhat futile.

Foreign Exchange Controls

This consists of restricting the purchase and sales of foreign currencies up to a certain amount. Given that importers automatically have to funding their imports through foreign currency, limiting access to these would imply a succeeding decrease in the quantity of brought in goods. This explains how the regulation of foreign exchange markets can be utilized within the policy of an government to reduce imports.

Currency Devaluation

It can be defined as the process whereby a country decides to decrease the value of its currency against that of other currencies on a voluntary basis. Currency devaluation can result in a rise in the expense of imports and a reduction in that of exports, thus making them more competitive in conditions of prices in international markets. For example, at an exchange rate of 1 for $2, something costing $100 in the US would normally be purchased at 50 in European union countries. If the worthiness of the Euro compared to that of the Dollar is readjusted to 1 for $1, the same product will be purchased at 100. The immediate result will be a semester in EU imports from the united states. In the same way as export subsidies, this measure is particularly made for increasing the export sector of economy thus building a current account surplus.

An example displaying how this plan can produce the desired results could be China's ever-growing export sector. Between 1995 and 2005, China's policy was to maintain the exchange rate of the Yuan contrary to the Money at $1 for 8. 28 yuan. The continuous devaluation of the Chinese language yuan in this specific period of time has largely contributed to the development thrust of China's export market, and helped to accomplish a current accounts surplus of $162 billion in 2004 (Sloman, 2006). However, under the risk of a 27. 5% tariff imposed on its exports by the US, China finally shifted from a fixed to a floating exchange rate plan in 2005, but that applied and then several eleven countries including the US.

Non-Tariff Barriers: A Necessary Evil?

Notwithstanding the fact that they might be acting as a hindrance to free trade on the global market, proof suggests that NTBs may possibly also have a beneficial impact from an economic point of view. It's been seen they can for illustration be implemented as part of a plan aiming at lowering imports, with the end result being a neat improvement of an country's balance of obligations. Advocates of NTBs might as well submit the safeguard of infant sectors as an argument justifying their program. As these sectors are unable to face international competition due to their obvious fragility, protectionist measures might be followed on a short-term basis to supply them with adequate support necessary for their progressive development. But the risk of experiencing infant industries belong to complacency and getting used to preferential treatment shouldn't be overlooked. In limiting the influx of imports on the local market, NTBs can indirectly lead to the creation of several job opportunities, especially in the export sector, and also have also became effective mechanisms for making sure the cover of ailing business.

In order for NTBs never to obstruct the fluidity of trade relations and to allow them to hold the expected positive result, governments should you should think about to use them temporarily and to remove them at the right time to avoid their particular countries from being employed in endless trade issues.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)