New ASEAN NTMs database launched to benefit MSMEs, exporters

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and exporters are encouraged to utilize the newly updated Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) Database for ASEAN and East Asia, an online tool that provides information on trade formalities and regulations that apply to products traded in the region.

The new NTMs Database for ASEAN and East Asia was turned over September 10 to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

The institute, which provides research and policy recommendations for further economic integration in East Asia, collaborated with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to collect and classify NTMs in the 10 ASEAN member countries and the six East Asian countries of China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

The new ASEAN NTMs database is the updated version of the first one launched in 2016. The data collection covered all regulations from official documents including international conventions adopted by these countries. A total of 28,947 measures were classified, 6,699 regulations were coded, and up to 11,347 product lines were covered.

ERIA observed that there has been a 15% rise in NTMS in the ASEAN over the past three years. It said it is sharing the raw or more detailed ASEAN data of the NTMs database to the ASEAN member states to assist in developing their respective national trade repositories.

NTMs are 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. Examples of NTMs include sanitary and phytosanitary regulations (measures that are applied to protect human or animal life) and technical barriers (e.g., labeling requirements).

Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi underscored how the NTMs database can support ASEAN exporters in understanding and complying with trade formalities and regulations that apply to their products.

Lim added that “this effort can also help MSMEs improve their competitiveness by having direct access to reliable and fully validated NTMs,” thus facilitating their trade and integration within regional and global value chains.

The secretary-general also pointed out that the NTMs database has the potential to reduce the cost of doing business in ASEAN and to double intra-ASEAN trade by 2025.

The NTM database features a quick search and five options for obtaining a summary table.

The Tables by Products option looks at the incidence of NTMs by HS sections and chapters, and by country imposing the measure. The Tables by Measure looks at the incidence of NTMs by country imposing the measure, while the Tables by Countries option looks at the incidence of NTMs by country and geographical regions.

Meanwhile, the Detailed Query option allows the user to select any combination of the five criteria-type of NTM, dates, country imposing, country affected, and product-and get a tabular listing of NTMs.

The Analysis option lets the user see and select stocks or flows of NTMs by type of measure.

In addition, by drilling down, the user will find a table with detailed information of individual measures, where, through links, he can get the document relevant to each measure.

The NTMs database is accessible here.

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