Non-tariff measures (NTMs) such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade play an ever-increasing role in shaping market access conditions and influencing the competitiveness of both national importers and exporters. The definition and implementation of these measures is a major issue for policymakers and economic actors. Many NTMs have primarily non-trade objectives, such as the protection of public health or the environment, yet they may affect trade and can unintentionally become discriminatory, especially against smaller businesses. According to a recent UNCTAD study, reducing the trade distorting effect of NTMs in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could lead to gains of up to $20 billion per annum. In order to support the emergence of a “one African market”, it is therefore crucial to strengthen the understanding of NTMs and their implications among AfCFTA parties.

Comprehensive, systematic and reliable information about NTMs can significantly reduce trade costs and is of crucial importance to businesses, regulators and researchers. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), recognises transparency and disclosure of information as one of its governing principles and requires each State Party to make publicly available its trade related regulations.

In this context and as part of its NTM Transparency initiative, UNCTAD will be conducting an e-learning course on NTM data collection approach and the effects of NTMs on trade and development.

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