A database of standards barriers

Over and over again, if you talk to busi­ness peo­ple who trade, you find that these bar­ri­ers rank much high­er on the scale of their con­cerns than tar­iffs or quo­tas, for exam­ple. The WTO has tens of thou­sands of doc­u­ments from its Mem­ber gov­ern­ments report­ing the use of these bar­ri­ers and explain­ing when and how they apply. But the ‘noti­fi­ca­tions’ to the Com­mit­tees on Tech­ni­cal Bar­ri­ers to Trade and the Com­mit­tee on San­i­tary and Phy­to-San­i­tary Mea­sures that con­tain all this infor­ma­tion are dif­fi­cult to find on the WTO web­site and almost impos­si­ble to search through. What importers and exporters need is a data­base of these mea­sures that can be con­sult­ed eas­i­ly and quick­ly. That’s what Inquit has now cre­at­ed: a data­base of the bar­ri­ers noti­fied to WTO since Jan­u­ary 2000. There are, in fact, expen­sive sub­scrip­tion data­bas­es of nation­al stan­dards. But WTO alone holds a record of all the ‘legal’ mea­sures that Mem­ber gov­ern­ments are required to noti­fy under threat of sanc­tion by oth­er gov­ern­ments. What I’ve done is to turn these records from ‘MS Word’ files into a search­able data­base . As far as I know, this data­base is unique. There are oth­ers out there, but they offer only a nar­row selec­tion from the WTO data or only the data from the last year or so. Inquit’s data­base offers com­plete infor­ma­tion from the WTO noti­fi­ca­tions for the past 5 years. You can find an intro­duc­tion to the data­base and free access to the reports here I hope you find the data­base use­ful. Please tell me what you think. What could I do to improve it? What else would you like me to add to the reports?

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