What are Non-Tariff measures?

Non-tariff measures (NTMs) are generally defined as policy measures other than ordinary customs tariffs that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade in goods, changing quantities traded, or prices or both (UNCTAD/DITC/ TAB/2009/3). Since this definition is broad, a detailed classification is of critical importance so as to better identify and distinguish among the various forms of non-tariff measures (NTMs).

The classification of non-tariff measures presented here is a taxonomy of all those measures considered relevant in today’s situation in international trade. It is based on the UNCTAD Coding System and was developed by several international organizations forming what was called the MAST group (Multi- Agency Support Team) to support the Group of Eminent Persons on Non-tariff Barriers established by the Secretary General of UNCTAD in 2006. The final proposal by the MAST group was revised by UNCTAD and all relevant Divisions of the WTO Secretariat. The classification was tested in the field by UNCTAD and ITC for data collection. The work ranged from 2007 to 2012. This version is presented as the 2012 version, the outcome of that discussion and testing. The classi3 cation is seen as evolving and should adapt to the reality of international trade and data collection needs.

This classification comprises technical measures, such as sanitary or environmental protection measures, as well as others traditionally used as instruments of commercial policy, e.g. quotas, price control, exports restrictions, or contingent trade protective measures, and also other behind-the-border measures, such as competition, trade-related investment measures, government procurement or distribution restrictions.

The classification of non-tariff measures encompasses 16 chapters (A to P), and each individual chapter is divided into groupings with depth up to three levels.

Download the UNCTAD NTMs International Classification: 2012

Non-tariff Measure Classification By Chapter

Imports Technical measures A Sanitary And Phytosanitary Measures
B Technical Barriers To Trade
C Pre-Shipment Inspection And Other Formalities
Non-technical measures D Contingent Trade-Protective Measures
E Non-Automatic Licensing, Quotas, Prohibitions And Quantity-Control Measures Other Than For SPS Or TBT Reasons
F Price-Control Measures, Including Additional Taxes And Charges
G Finance Measures
H Measures Affecting Competition
I Trade-Related Investment Measures
J Distribution Restrictions
K Restrictions On Post-Sales Services
L Subsidies (Excluding Export Subsidies Under P7)
M Government Procurement Restrictions
N Intellectual Property
O Rules Of Origin
Exports P Export-Related Measures