Findings show that the incidence of non-tariff measures (NTMs) in ASEAN is moderate in comparison with other regions of the world. The econometrically estimated ad valorem equivalents also seem comparable with other countries. The challenge is to design NTMs so as to maximize their effectiveness in responding to consumer concerns while minimizing the induced economic inefficiency and the interference from self-interested lobbies. This paper proposes that the way forward is not to follow traditional “notify-negotiate-eliminate” approaches but instead to bring the issue to the country level and imbed them in regulatory-reform agendas in the efforts to improve trade and investment climate.

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