The ARISE+ Indonesia programme has organized, from 9 to 20 November 2020, three training workshops for the Ministry of Trade (MoT) and other trade institutions in support to strengthening Indonesia’s capacity to deal with non-tariff measures in international trade.

The importance of non-tariff measures (NTMs) in international trade has been rising in parallel to successive tariff liberalizations undertaken by governments in the GATT/WTO frameworks and in various free trade agreements. The recourse to NTMs gained new momentum in the wake of the global financial crisis, which started in the third quarter of 2008. As a result, many countries faced increased pressure to take protectionist actions and imposed several non-tariff measures. Even though most were fully compliant with WTO rules, their intention clearly was to protect their domestic industries.

Besides such protectionist policies, there are other important reasons which explain the proliferation of non-tariff measures in global trade. Indeed, non-tariff measures are mostly used to protect human and animal life and health from a variety of risks such as toxins or disease-causing organisms, and to protect the environment e.g. through import permits relating to endangered species of wild fauna. The WTO and free-trade agreements allow Governments to have recourse to non-tariff measures, including Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) such as technical regulations and standards as well as Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), to pursue legitimate policy objectives provided that they are not discriminatory and are not disguised protectionist measures.

It is against this background that the training courses have been organized to strengthen the capacity of Ministry of Trade (MoT) officials and other relevant players in developing policies and strategies to address non-tariff measures (NTM). The expected immediate added-value is to optimize the benefits from international trade, especially in the context of negotiating and subsequent implementation of the EU-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the European Union.

Thirty-nine participants attended the training courses which were delivered remotely, through visual-conference, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The introductory course aimed at improving the knowledge of MoT officials and other relevant players involved in trade policy processes on the various types of NTMs and on how they affect Indonesia’s trade and the economy as a whole. This training allowed participants to acquire the fundamental knowledge necessary to deal with non-tariff measures ranging from definitional issues, policy rationales, inventory, classification and effects of NTMs, to the main provisions of the WTO’s TBT and SPS Agreements.

The second training module consisted of an advanced course for researchers that aimed at enhancing their capacity in NTM data collection and trade impact analysis. Additionally, participants also learned how to monitor NTMs under trade agreements such as the CEPA and regional trade arrangements. During this course, participants improved their knowledge in particular on NTM databases and NTM statistics indicators. They also made practical exercises using UNCTAD’s Trade Analysis Information System (TRAINS) and the World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS).

Finally, an advanced course was held for Indonesian trade officials involved in the CEPA negotiations. Building on the first training workshop, this event helped participant acquire in-depth knowledge of the WTO TBT and SPS Agreements. In addition, it also focussed on EU trade policies regarding non-tariff measures both under the WTO and in free trade agreements. Specific attention was paid to comparative analysis of the provisions relating SPS and TBT measures in four free trade agreements of the European Union, namely with Canada, Singapore, Vietnam and in the Economic Partnership Agreement concluded with the Southern African Development Community. This analysis revealed the relative diversity of the SPS and TBT provisions, thus indicating how FTA partners managed to shape the disciplines of the agreements to their respective needs.

You may access the webinar presentation materials through this link.

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