This joint ESCAP-ITC publication offers insights into the main NTM challenges for Asia-Pacific firms, both within and beyond the region. It draws on data from business surveys conducted by the ITC in nine Asia-Pacific economies. The main findings of the report show that it is largely technical NTMs in the form of conformity assessments and technical requirements, applied by partner countries abroad, and made burdensome by procedural obstacles (POs) at home, that create obstacles to trade for importers and exporters in the region.
In addition, the report also contextualizes recommendations within ongoing policy discussions for trade facilitation and regional collaboration efforts in the Asia-Pacific. Recommendations for regional action in span three areas: 1) institutional streamlining to identify domestic opportunities for trade facilitation reform at the institutional level; 2) leveraging soft infrastructure in the form of regional trade agreements to serve as an effective vehicle for addressing conformity assessment-related compliance issues; and 3) investment in hard infrastructure through the development of regional quality infrastructure to address bottlenecks in testing and certification compliance issues.
Lastly, the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (FA-CPT) could be a regional vehicle to address domestic POs that make NTMs burdensome, while promoting trade facilitation and regional integration in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).