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New edition of the WTO World Tariff Profiles published

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) issued the latest edition (2021) of the World Tariff Profiles, a statistical yearbook made in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with information on both tariffs and non-tariff measures imposed by the 164 WTO members, plus other countries and customs territories.

The WTO/ITC/UNCTAD publication shows for each country the average tariffs imposed on imports, with additional information on the market access conditions such economies face in terms of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in their major export markets, and the value of exports to their major trading partners.

Tariff data is subsequently disaggregated for different categories of product groups, offering a quick overview of products attracting the higher customs duties (e.g. animal products, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, plants, coffee, tea, cereals & preparations, oilseeds, fats & oils, sugars and confectionery, beverages & tobacco, cotton, other agricultural products, fish & fish products, minerals & metals, petroleum, etc.).

NTMs are equally important as tariffs in determining market access and are becoming more and more important in international trade (in Africa, UNCTAD estimates that NTMs can raise unit values of traded products by 15 to 30 per cent in food and agricultural sectors, and by five to 20 per cent in manufacturing sectors). This is why the Secretary-General of UNCTAD established in 2006 a Multi-Agency Support Team (MAST), made up of 8 international organisation including the WTO and several UN agencies, to work on the taxonomy of NTMs, as well as the Group of Eminent Persons on Non-Tariff Barriers (GNTB), to identify methods for their definition, classification and quantification, and understand their implications at global level. The GNTB has also elaborated a definition of NTMs, which identifies them as those “policy measures, other than [ordinary] customs tariffs, that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade in goods, changing quantities traded, or prices or both”.

Apart from restrictions that result from prohibitions, conditions, or specific market requirements that make importation or exportation of products difficult and/or costly, NTMs also include anti-dumping actions, countervailing duties and safeguard measures, as well as technical requirements in the area of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) that intend to protect health or safety, or provide environmental protection. Specifically, the yearbook focuses on the number of investigations initiated, implemented, withdrawn or revoked within the context of anti-dumping actions, countervailing duties and safeguard measures applied by the various nations and customs territories in the world.

 

 

 

 

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