Knowledge by key stakeholders (private sector, public sector and civil society) of existing NTMs and impact on regional trade enhanced, and action plan developed to eliminate such obstacles

Sector/ Subsector: N.A.

Implementing Agency: International Trade Centre

Project’s donors: Egypt, Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Swedish International Co

Brief Description: In the framework of the ITC program on non-tariff measures, national surveys have been undertaken in four member countries of the League of Arab States (LAS), namely in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and the State of Palestine. The “fast track” activities intended to complete a cross-country analysis of the results and findings of the four surveys. The in-depth analysis was presented to member countries and regional partners to identify concrete actions at national and regional levels that will help reduce or eliminate existing trade related obstacles.operation Agency (Sida), ITFC, IsDB, UNDP



Contributes to Program Output 1:Enhance regional competitiveness through trade policy reform and TSI efficiency, and focuses specifically on enhancing TSI efficiency
Target Countries:Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen
Duration: 09 months09 months
Start date: 1 April 2014
End date:31 December 2014
Expected Results: 1. Regional workshops held to discuss Non-tariff measures (NTM) survey results and how to address them

2. Provision of policy recommendations to address selected NTM

3. Three national non-tariff measure surveys initiated

Expected impact: Improved knowledge of existing NTMs and development of action plans to alleviate such obstacles.
Approved budget:$ 212,200
List of deliverablesDeliverable 1: Regional workshop organised and action plan to address priority NTMs defined.

  • Result 1: A concrete action plan to address priority NTMs of mutual interest to the LAS member countries developed and validated by the participating countries and the regional integration organizations.
  • Result 2: Priority areas of intervention identified and validated with partner countries

Based in the recommendations of the regional workshop, a new project was designed and funded by USAID to implement a coordinated regional approach to alleviating trade related obstacles to increase regional integration

  • Result 3: Four countries (Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia and Yemen) sent an official request to the WTO Standards and Trade Facilitation Mechanism (STDF) for implementing the project Enhanced trade of agricultural products through a streamlined SPS conformity assessment system within the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA)” related to conformity assessment infrastructure developed jointly by ITC and UNIDO.

Deliverable 2: Provision of policy recommendations to address selected NTMs.

Result 1: “Facilitating trade in Arab States – Insights from the ITC business surveys on NTMs” prepared for publishing in 2015

analysing main NTM related obstacles to intra-regional trade in three key areas: 1) product quality and conformity, 2) rules of

origin and other trade related measures, 3) customs clearance and border controls.

Deliverable 3: Three national non-tariff measure surveys initiated.

Result 1: NTM survey in Jordan initiated.

Main Lessons learnt:Lesson 1: The fast track activities deviated attention from the core and overall project whereas they were designed to move implementation faster. The narrow focus on managing these activities instead of focusing on the next steps resulted in a waste of time.

Lesson 2: uncertainty vis à vis the availability of funding and the timing when it would be transferred prevented ITC from engaging in activities which were to start during fast-track and continue during the lifetime of the project

Lesson 3: the long delays in getting the agreement with UNDP signed and to make funds available for use in implementing the project (this was done on 30 April) provided ITC with a short period of 6 months (taking into consideration Ramadan, summer months and end of year constraints) to implement all activities described which were almost impossible.

Recommendation (s) for follow-up:It is critical to ensure forward planning and fast transfer of resources to ensure effective planning and efficient implementation of the project.

NTMs are the main hurdle in developing intra-Arab trade. Work on reducing/alleviating NTMs is a high priority to ensure a more conducive business environment and trade facilitation within the region.

Through interaction with member countries specific needs have been identified in terms of capacity building, knowledge sharing and dissemination of best practices across all member countries to ensure more transparency and harmonization of rules, regulations, and procedures.