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15 to 28 November 2021 | Open meeting

Virtual Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland
UNESCAP – UNCTAD Online Course on Non-Tariff Measures and Sustainable Development


The ability to gain and to benefit from market access opportunities depends increasingly on compliance with non-tariff measures (NTMs) – all policy interventions other than tariffs that can potentially affect the quantities and the prices of internationally traded goods, such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical regulations and norms.

During the past two decades, thanks to multilateral and regional trade agreements (RTAs) as well as unilateral efforts, applied tariffs worldwide have been reduced, those in the Asia-Pacific region have been halved. At the same time, the number of non-tariff measures (NTMs), including sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and technical barriers to trade (TBTs), has risen significantly. NTMs often serve legitimate and important public policy objectives, but their trade costs are estimated to be more than double that of ordinary customs tariffs. As such, they have become a key concern for traders as well as for trade policymakers aiming to ensure that trade can continue to support sustainable development.

The course on NTMs and sustainable development – jointly prepared and organized by UNESCAP and UNCTAD – explores how NTMs relate to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is followed by a discussion of the impacts of NTMs on trade and investment, together with a private sector perspective outlining the difficulties posed by NTMs and related procedural obstacles. The importance of aligning NTMs with international standards as one way to bring down trade costs of NTMs, as well as other policy recommendations and good practices on streamlining NTMs towards sustainable development are discussed.

Overview and learning objectives

This course introduces the concept of NTMs and SDGs and their relations, as well as the impacts of NTMs on trade and investment. It also discusses good practices on applying and harmonizing NTMs.

It is divided into four modules as follows:

  1. Navigating Non-tariff measures: towards sustainable development
  2. Evaluating the impact of NTMs on trade and investment
  3. NTMs and the relationship to international standards
  4. Streamlining NTMs for sustainable benefits

Participants to the course should be able to familiarize themselves with these concepts by the end of the course.

Target audience

The objective of this online course on NTMs and Sustainable Development is to increase the understanding of non-tariff measures (NTMs), their connection with the Sustainable Development Goals, and the work of UNESCAP and UNCTAD on NTMs.  It targets audiences who are working in trade and/or development field, such as government officials, researchers, and representatives of the private sectors. We especially encourage participants who want to strengthen their understanding of NTMs, use NTM data, and/or who are or may be involved in the design or negotiation of policies related to NTMs.

Course prerequisites

The course is open to the public who are interested in the topic. Candidates with background in trade, economics, or development studies are strongly encouraged. Also required are: very good knowledge of English.

Course fees

Thanks to the support of UNESCAP’s Trade, Investment and Innovation Division and UNCTAD’s Trade Analysis Branch, the selected participants will be exempt from the fees associated with access to the course and the e-tutoring services provided.

Grading and certificate

In order to pass, participants must receive a grade of at least 75 per cent and complete the questionnaire survey. A completion certificate will be awarded to participants who have successfully completed the course.

Application information and deadline

To apply, please follow the instructions at

The deadline for applications is November 09, 2021 (23:59 Bangkok time). Applications received thereafter or incomplete applications will not be considered.  

Requests for further information or clarification about this course should be sent to:

Ms. Chi-Le NGO, Trade Information Section, Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, UNCTAD. E-mail: [email protected]

A selection committee will review each application and select the course participants based on the answers to the selecting questionnaire and the relevance of the course for their work. Participants will be advised of their selection by November 12, 2021.

Structure and timetable of the course

The course comprises of an online forum in which participants can exchange ideas and pose questions to the course tutors. It also features reading materials, multimedia lecture, exercises and a multiple-choice test. The course will be run entirely from the course website. An Internet connection is required to interact with the course tutor and complete end-of-module tests and questionnaire.

No hard copies (printed papers, CD, DVD) of the course materials will be provided.

for more information, please contact

Trade, Investment and Innovation Division +66 2 288-1234 [email protected]
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