The aim of the discussion forum, which is hosted on the WTO website, is to encourage debate on the topic of the 2012 World Trade Report. In the months leading up to publication of the report in July 2012, short articles on this topic will be posted on the web page. Members of the research and policy community can contribute to this discussion by submitting papers or by commenting on the papers already submitted. Comments are also sought from any individuals with an interest in this topic. All contributions will be taken into consideration by the authors of the World Trade Report 2012.
The report will focus on non-tariff measures (i.e. policy measures, other than tariffs, that can potentially affect trade in goods) and services regulations, which are less transparent than tariffs. Some of them are in place for legitimate reasons (i.e. to allow countries to pursue legitimate policy goals). Others are mainly used to protect domestic producers. Most non-tariff measures (NTMs) affect the fixed costs for exporters of entering foreign markets, rather than their variable costs of servicing these markets. Addressing obstacles raised by regulations may involve some form of regulatory convergence and may require a multi-layered governance structure. For these reasons, NTMs and services regulations raise particular challenges for international cooperation on trade. Understanding these challenges is crucial to determining what the WTO’s future agenda on such measures should be.
More information on the discussion forum can be found here.