Launch of the largest global Non-Tariff Measures database: TRAINS

22 July 2016

​On the occasion of its fourteenth Ministerial Conference, UNCTAD launched the largest global database on Non-Tariff Measures during the Ministerial round table 'Lowering hurdles for Trade: Trade Costs, Regulatory Convergence and Regional Integration'.

TRAINS covers 56 countries accounting for 80 per cent of world trade. It is the most comprehensive NTMs data base containing more than thirty-eight thousand measures.

The information covers a broad range of policy instruments, including traditional trade policy instruments such as quotas or price controls, as well as regulatory and technical measures that stem from important non-trade objectives, related to health and environmental protection (Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)).

NTMs become increasingly important for policy makers as tariffs have been reduced significantly in trade agreements as well as unilaterally. In fact, the ability to gain and to benefit from market access depends increasingly on compliance with regulatory measures such as sanitary requirements and goods standards. These NTMs represent a challenge for exporters, importers and policy makers. Systematic information about NTMs has been scarce and difficult to obtain.

The objective of the TRAINS database is to increase transparency and understanding about regulations and trade control measures. UNCTAD coordinates the international effort to reduce the transparency gap. Key partners are the African Development Bank, ALADI secretariat (from Latin America), ERIA (ASEAN), ITC, the World Bank and WTO. UNCTAD is also grateful for financial support from Canada, the European Commission, Germany, GRIPS (from Japan), Japan, the Russian Federation and the United States.

Among many other useful functions, TRAINS enables policy makers, companies and researchers to view the incidence and types of NTMs by product. For instance, which labelling is required for exports of canned fruits exported from country A to country B? Researchers can use the data to assess the impact of NTMs on international trade.

The data has been collected from official sources, mainly national laws and regulations. Measures are classified according to the International Classification of NTMs (developed by UNCTAD and the MAST group) at the most detailed level and the Harmonized System (HS) classification at the national tariff line level. It includes links to original documents and descriptive statistics. The data is provided systematically by country, type of NTM, affected product and partner country and has about 30 variables including the source of information, dates, textual descriptions etc. The interface is a version of WTO's I-TIP, which has been developed by the WTO for notifications.

Available countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Colombia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, European Union, Ghana, Guinea, Gambia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Liberia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Mali, Myanmar, Malaysia, Niger, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Paraguay, Senegal, Singapore, El Salvador, Togo, Thailand, Tajikistan, Uruguay, United States of America, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Vietnam.