Number of This Year’s Technical Barriers to Trade Notifications Has a Chance to Break All Time Record

Nov 26, 2019

Number of this year’s TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) notifications has closed upon the number of last year’s TBT notifications that was the highest ever. With this current trend, there is a chance that the number will break the record that was set last year. Number of TBT notifications has increased greatly this year mostly through developing countries. Increased regulations on energy efficiency grade have acted as a barrier for South Korea’s electronics companies with their exportation .
According to WTO (World Trade Organization), the number of TBT notifications currently stands at 2,990 and it is almost reaching last year’s number of TBT notifications which was 3,061. If there are 71 more notifications, the number of TBT notifications for this year will surpass last year’s number.
The number of new TBT notifications for this year currently stands at 1,892 that is the second most ever followed by last year’s number of new TBT notifications which was 2,083. If 191 TBT notifications are notified additionally until the end of this year, the number of new TBT notifications for this year will be the highest ever.
TBT is a trade barrier that impedes free movement of products between countries by applying different technical barriers, standards, and certified testing procedures. Unlike traditional trade barriers such as limited import volume, TBT is a hidden technical barrier that is mostly made private.

Number of This Year’s Technical Barriers to Trade Notifications Has a Chance to Break All Time Record

This year’s TBT notifications have taken place mostly through developing countries. Uganda is currently ranked first with 422 TBT notifications followed by Ecuador (263), U.S. (255), Kenya (177), and Brazil (168). Excluding the U.S., all other countries are developing countries. Although Intense protective trade issues such as the trade war between the U.S. and China and the economic conflict between South Korea and China are led by advanced countries, hidden TBT notifications have generally been led by developing countries.
Due to recent increase in the number of regulations on energy efficiency grade within developing countries, South Korea’s exporting companies have faced difficult trade barriers. Out of eight STCs (Specific Trade Concern) presented by Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’s Korea Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) to WTO’s TBT Committee that was held in Geneva this month, two of them are regulations related to energy efficiency grade that were brought up by Saudi Arabia and Ecuador. Previously, KATS also brought up STCs to regulations of Peru and Panama on energy efficiency grade. Because STC is an agenda that brings up an official objection to WTO’s TBT committee, it can bring huge pressure on a corresponding country. STC is usually brought up for trade barriers with much influence or issues that need to be resolved urgently. This indicates that South Korean Government sees developing countries’ regulations on energy efficiency grade as a serious issue that will have huge impact on South Korean companies.
Because the number of TBT notifications for this year will be about the same as the number of TBT notifications from last year, it is expected that technical barriers will continue to expand globally for a while. Number of TBT notifications had increased continuously since 2015 until last year. The numbers were 1,977, 2,332, 2,580, and 3,061 respectively.
Staff Reporter Byun, Sanggeun | sgbyun@etnews.com

■Number of TBT notifications in the past 5 years 
▲2015: 1,977
▲2016: 2,331
▲2017: 2,580
▲2018: 3,061
▲2019 as of 11/25: 2,990
Reference: WTO
<■Number of TBT notifications in the past 5 years ▲2015: 1,977 ▲2016: 2,331 ▲2017: 2,580 ▲2018: 3,061 ▲2019 as of 11/25: 2,990 Reference: WTO >

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