Stringency of Non-Tariff Measures in Partner Countries: Perceptions of Malaysian Exporters
National policymakers and trade negotiators lack a clear understanding on what non-tariff measures (NTMs) their exporters perceive as predominant impediments to trade. This paper therefore examines the stringency of NTMs, by NTM-type and partner country, from the perspective of Malaysian exporters. The information is compiled through a representative firm-level survey of 143 exporting companies, and interviews with firms of different sizes and sectors in manufacturing. The key findings of the study are that NTMs, specifically technical measures, are perceived to be stringent and pose challenges to small and medium firms, resource-based firms and firms with less exposure to international markets. The stringency of customs procedures and other formalities, more specifically, is found to be not just a concern when exporting to the advanced markets (US, EU and Japan), but is also singled out to be an issue in exporting to the ASEAN region. The disproportionate effects that NTMs pose on exporters suggest that specific assistance and focus be provided to the affected firms.