UNCTAD as the focal point for the collection of data on non-tariff measures, has recently expanded its geographical coverage to member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Since December 2014, UNCTAD and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) have collaborated to create a comprehensive database of non-tariff measures (NTMs) for the ten ASEAN countries.
For this joint project, UNCTAD and ERIA assigned a team of national consultants to work on each ASEAN country. Ten teams of consultants were trained according to the UNCTAD guidelines to collect data on official NTMs.
A one-week training workshop was held in Thailand in February to enhance the capacity of national consultants to collect data on NTMs.
After receiving 30% of the data from the national consultants, UNCTAD sent its staff and consultant on a mission to review the work and to have a face-to-face discussion with each team of national consultants covering the ten ASEAN countries.
At the end of June 2015, 60% of the data collection was submitted by the national consultants. UNCTAD and ERIA expect to complete the collection of data of NTMs in ASEAN countries by the end of October 2015. Following the conclusion of the data collection, UNCTAD and ERIA will produce research papers analysing various impacts of NTMs both inside and outside the region.
The efforts of UNCTAD and ERIA to collect NTMs data in all ASEAN countries are in line with one of the goals of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), i.e. the growing need to address NTMs in order to galvanise the concept of an ASEAN identity.