Non-tariff barriers to trade are damaging too

16 May 2018

On average, the economic costs of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) now far exceed those of tariffs, which have generally been falling as new free trade agreements are implemented.

Indeed, NTBs to trade are particularly malignant. Their costs are harder to quantify and the benefits easier to overstate, especially if they can be justified on grounds of ‘health and safety’ or protection from ‘unfair’ competition.

Food standards should be proportionate and science-based. Too often they are not, particularly in Europe. Multiple studies have shown big economic gains from removing anti-competitive market distortions, including NTBs.

Attempts by powerful lobbies to promote NTBs on the basis of flimsy evidence therefore need to be resisted at every turn, with a focus instead on putting consumers’ true interests first.

Download PDF NTBs - Julian Jessop

EPICENTER publications and contributions from our member think tanks are designed to promote the discussion of economic issues and the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. As with all EPICENTER publications, the views expressed here are those of the author and not EPICENTER or its member think tanks (which have no corporate view).


  • Reset

Browse our archives


View All Briefings


Subscribe to a freer Europe by signing up to our mailing list