What are Non-Tariff Barriers?
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What are Non-Tariff Barriers?
Nontariff barriers are all the other ways that a nation can draw up rules, regulations, inspections, and paperwork to make it more costly or difficult to import products. A rule requiring certain safety standards can limit imports just as effectively as high tariffs or low import quotas, for instance. There are also non-tariff barriers in the form of “rules-of-origin” regulations; these rules describe the “Made in Country X” label as the one in which the last substantial change in the product took place. A manufacturer wishing to evade import restrictions may try to change the production process so that the last big change in the product happens in his or her own country. For example, certain textiles are made in the United States, shipped to other countries, combined with textiles made in those other countries to make apparel—and then re-exported back to the United States for a final assembly, to escape paying tariffs or to obtain a “Made in the USA” label.
Back to: ECONOMIC ANALYSIS & MONETARY POLICY
Despite import quotas, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers, the share of apparel sold in the United States that is imported rose from about half in 1999 to about three-quarters today. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), estimated the number of U.S. jobs in textiles and apparel fell from 666,360 in 2007 to 385,240 in 2012, a 42% decline. Even more U.S. textile industry jobs would have been lost without tariffs. However, domestic jobs that are saved by import quotas come at a cost. Because textile and apparel protectionism adds to the costs of imports, consumers end up paying billions of dollars more for clothing each year.
When the United States eliminates trade barriers in one area, consumers spend the money they save on that product elsewhere in the economy. Thus, while eliminating trade barriers in one sector of the economy will likely result in some job loss in that sector, consumers will spend the resulting savings in other sectors of the economy and hence increase the number of jobs in those other sectors. Of course, workers in some of the poorest countries of the world who would otherwise have jobs producing textiles, would gain considerably if the United States reduced its barriers to trade in textiles. That said, there are good reasons to be wary about reducing barriers to trade. The 2012 and 2013 Bangladeshi fires in textile factories, which resulted in a horrific loss of life, present complications that our simplified analysis in the chapter will not capture.
- Trade Balance: Surplus and Deficit
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- Closed Economy
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- Effects of Trade Barriers
- Who Is Benefited and Who is Harmed by Protectionism?
- Infant Industry Theory for Restricting Imports
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