n Agrekon - Non-tariff measures affecting agricultural trade in SADC

Volume 55, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0303-1853
  • E-ISSN: 2078-0400
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The establishment of the World Trade Organization in 1995 and the subsequent proliferation of regional and bilateral trade agreements resulted in the decline of global tariffs. However, other trade and regulatory measures have increased and thus restricted potential trade to some extent. These measures, non-tariff measures (NTMs), have also affected intra-SADC trade as there was no evidence of growth in the trade that needed to accompany the decline in tariffs. The extent of the impact of NTMs on SADC trade is still not fully understood due to lack of such data, which has effectively affected the quality of research in this area. In this article, data on NTMs related to SADC agricultural products for ten countries was compiled to shed some light on these measures, as well as to make them transparent. The results confirm that these countries have increased their use of NTMs over the period 2000 to 2010. As a result, on average one product was subjected to 17 NTMs in 2010. The Southern African Customs Union is the leader in the use of NTMs, while Malawi had the least incidences of NTMs. Most of the NTMs are applied on fruits, meat, dairy, vegetables and cereal products. The use of sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) and of export measures was increasing faster than other categories were. Finally, there is an indication that NTMs are used as substitutes for the declining tariffs. NTMs are trade restricting, and if they are not addressed, they will continue to reverse the gains of the SADC free trade area, as well as other initiatives of trade liberalisation.

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