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). The detailed classification of NTMs by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, (UNCTAD) identifies and distinguishes among the various forms of non-tariff measures.

The UNCTAD classification of non-tariff measures is taxonomy of all those measures considered relevant in today’s situation in international trade. The classification is an evolving process that should adapt to the reality of international trade and data collection needs.

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

This classification acknowledges existence of measures and does not judge on legitimacy, adequacy, necessity or discrimination of any form of policy intervention used in international trade. It helps exporters worldwide to access transparent, reliable and comparable information and enables understanding of NTMs.

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 Detailed classification of Non-Tariff Measures: February 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