Guidelines to Collect Data on Official Non-Tariff Measures: 2019 Version

During the last few decades, multilateral and regional trade negotiations and unilateral liberalization have substantially reduced tariff rates. Non-tariff measures (NTMs), however, represent a growing challenge for exporters and policy makers.

The ability to gain and to benefit from market access depends increasingly on compliance with trade regulatory measures such as sanitary requirements and goods standards. UNCTAD has been actively involved in research and activities on issues related to NTMs since 1994 and the classification of NTMs was developed and agreed by several international organizations in the context of a multi-agency initiative on NTMs led by UNCTAD.

The classification is designed to facilitate the collection, analysis and dissemination of data on NTMs, with the final objective to increase transparency and understanding about the subject.

The purpose of this manual is to provide guidelines to data collectors to harmonize the NTM data collection process and to minimize uncertainty during the process of categorization and classification.

In doing so, the manual presents the logic behind the classification of NTMs, and it explains how to choose the most appropriate code. This manual provides a large set of examples, and it is regularly updated to respond to queries and questions emerging during the data collection exercise.

This manual has been created with the intention of covering as many cases as possible. However, if uncertainties persist, data collectors are encouraged to submit their questions to providing also a copy of the legal text and stating the proposed code.