Asia's Long-term Growth and Integration: Reaching beyond Trade Policy Barriers

Publication | September 2005

Over the past four decades, international attention to trade policy has focused on lowering border transaction costs related directly to trade policy, most notably through GATT/WTO processes for tariffication and tariff reduction, but also in a myriad of bilateral and regional arrangements. However, trade policies are only one element of the overall costs of trade for modern international business. Logistical, institutional, and regulatory barriers are often more costly than tariffs. Broadly defined, trade costs include policy barriers (tariffs and nontariff barriers), transportation costs, local distribution costs, information costs, contract enforcement costs, and other border-related barriers such as language and currency conversion. Increasing trade efficiency and lowering these costs can boost growth, employment, trade and integration substantially.


  • Introduction
  • Reducing Trade Costs
  • Assessing the Gains of Broader Trade Reforms
  • Conclusions
  • References