EDB Centre for Integration Studies Report no. 29. EDB: Saint-Petersburg.
In the past ten years, non-tariff barriers (NTBs), also more commonly known as non-tariff measures, have played an increasing role in limiting the movement of goods and services. This is the result of a reduction of import tariffs in the multilateral trading system, and the growing number of regional trade agreements involving tariff-free trade between countries. NTBs negate the positive effects of easier market access that result from liberalising trade by removing tariff barriers. Not only can they negatively impact trade flows within the existing export basket, they also hinder the entry of new products and the emergence of new trading partners.
After the establishment of the Customs Union (CU) and the Single Economic Space (SES), Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia have repeatedly expressed the need to identify NTBs to the expansion of trade between partner countries and the effective development of Eurasian integration. The countries have already taken several steps in this direction, particularly in the field of technical regulations. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia have signed an agreement on common principles and rules of technical regulation. It provides for: a coherent policy; the creation of a list of products for which mandatory requirements are being established under the CU; and the development of CU technical regulations for products added to the list. The CU technical regulations that establish common technical requirements for products took effect in 2012. CU and SES countries are also harmonising national legislation pertaining to standardization, accreditation, measurement and state control of technical regulation. All of this will reduce technical barriers and simplify supplying goods and services to the single market.
In order to develop and deepen the integration between the countries, on May 29, 2014 Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed the Treaty on the Establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The EEU stipulates that, within the domestic market, Member States do not apply non-tariff measures except in cases provided for by the Treaty. Restrictions may be applied to protect life and health, public morality, law and order, the environment, animals and plants, cultural values; to comply with international obligations; and to ensure national defence and security. However, such measures must not constitute a means of unjustifiable discrimination or disguised restriction on trade. The EEU countries have established general principles, rules, and procedures of technical regulation, and general principles for the application of sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary quarantine measures.