About Pronto

productivity, non-tariff barriers, and openness

A collaborative research project on regulatory barriers to trade, supported by the European Commission

Over the past 50 years, there has been significant progress in lowering tariff barriers to international trade. This has led to a growing awareness of the importance of what are termed the "new” Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs). The relevance of these new NTMs has grown with the rising importance of global sourcing and multinational enterprises. Today, with the dominance of global value chains and the increased tradability of non-tangible products, we are confronted with new and important questions about the impact of NTMs on competitiveness and productivity.

The team working on PRONTO seeks new and better data, better methodologies, and better understanding of the impact of new NTMs on international investment and trade. This involves a collaborative effort between universities and those international organizations working on primary data development, with an important long-term goal being sustainability of information resources for tracking and guiding international economic policy in this area.

Project Overview

Pronto is focused on NTMs. What exactly are NTMS? NTMs comprise three separate but related groups of regulations and barriers. First, there are the barriers intended to impede entry into a country by foreign goods, multinational enterprises (MNEs), and/or workers. Barriers in this category include safety and environmental regulations on products (such as Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards for agricultural goods); local ownership requirements limiting the extent of foreign direct investment (FDI); and visa requirements that restrict entry by certain groups of foreign workers. There are also other and more subtle barriers to foreign firms. One example is the higher price margin typically granted to domestic firms when bidding on government contracts. All of these measures aim to tilt the domestic market toward domestic producers.