Non-Tariff Measures in ASEAN
While tariffs have been reduced, the number of non-tariff measures (NTMs) continues to increase, and is often blamed as one source of the lack of integration in ASEAN. Unlike tariffs which could be reduced to the zero level, it is hard to see a world without NTMs as these can play a role of check and balance in the quality of goods. A country with a relatively higher number of NTMs does not mean it is more protectionist that others. A country with relatively higher number of NTM coverage does not mean it will have a relatively lower trade compared to the others. However, not all NTMs are benign; some NTMs could complicate business but not achieve the main goals. To improve the trade environment and make NTMs work for the common good, ASEAN should break from the 'trade negotiation' approach and strive instead for regional transparency, further cooperation in conformity assessment procedures, and dynamic disciplines. This report provides the most comprehensive data and descriptive analyses on NTMs in the 10 ASEAN countries based on the recently developed 2015 ASEAN-ERIA-UNCTAD database. This is ASEAN's initiative, as it takes the lead to improve transparency of its trade regulations.