Non-tariff measures course empowers trainees from 32 countries

10 October 2019

Participants deepen knowledge on using non-tariff measures to foster market access and sustainable development.

UNCTAD has trained officials, researchers and traders from 32 countries on non-tariff measures (NTMs) and collection of data on these measures.

The 51 trainees (32 women and 19 men) who took the sixth edition of the annual course via UNCTAD’s e-learning platform from July to September deepened their knowledge on how to use NTMs to foster market access and sustainable development.

Online training

“Non-tariff measures inhabit the grey zone where trade policy meets national regulation,” UNCTAD’s chief of trade information, Ralf Peters said.

Some 90% of traded goods are affected by NTMs but information on these measures is not always readily available.

This compounds other concerns, such as the need for national streamlining of NTMs and regulatory cooperation at the regional and multilateral level to reduce any adverse effects of the measures.

The seven-week course helped the trainees understand the policy issues their countries face in international trade and equipped them to collect, classify and/or analyse NTMs.

It focused on NTMs’ definition, theory, relevant research, classification, data collection and provided useful templates.

Forum to exchange ideas

“It served as a forum for researchers, traders, and government officers from all over the world to exchange ideas on implementing the knowledge from the course in their work and research,” said Chi Le Ngo, the course tutor from UNCTAD’s trade analysis branch.

“It was eye-opening to know exactly what regulations to look for in order to obtain the whole picture of trade regulation, especially from a trade facilitation perspective,” said Thandeka Dlamini, a consultant from the National Trade Facilitation Secretariat in Eswatini.

According to Lyza Srey, an economist at the Secretariat of the National Committee for Non-Tariff Measures in Cambodia, the course provided a solid foundation on the process of collecting NTMs data. “It has empowered me to better provide technical support to colleagues and partners,” he said.

Sara Salina Mohammed, trade and policy officer at the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries, said: “The knowledge I gained will be very useful for our research and recommendations from the private sector bodies we represent in policy formulation at the national level.”

“Insightful and inspiring! I will use specific concepts from this course to enrich my doctoral research proposal on the impact of NTMs on trade and welfare in my country,” said Patrick Lusenge Ndungo, researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

UNCTAD first offered the annual online course in 2014 and has certified 300 graduates since then.