Non Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) relates to trade negotiations on non-agricultural or industrial products. In the NAMA negotiations, WTO Members discuss the terms or modalities for reducing or eliminating customs tariff and non tariff barriers on trade in industrial products.
The product coverage under NAMA includes marine products, chemicals, rubber products, wood products, textiles and clothing, leather, ceramics, glassware, engineering products, electronics, automobiles, instruments, sports goods and toys.
On tariffs, the negotiations take place on the bound tariff which are the bindings taken during the negotiations at the WTO. The bound tariffs are the upper limit of the applied customs tariff which are the tariffs actually applied by the Customs authorities on imports into any country.
In the NAMA negotiations there are tariffs on which no bindings have been taken and these are known as the unbound tariff lines. Based on the commitments taken by India, at the commencement of the Doha Round in 2001, India has more than 31% of it NAMA tariff lines as unbound.
The main elements of the NAMA negotiations are:
- Coefficient for the tariff reduction formula
- Flexibilities for protecting sensitive NAMA products
- Sectoral initiatives for elimination of customs tariff in specific sectors
- Non-Tariff Barrier (NTB) textual proposals
During the WTO Ministerial Meeting at Doha in November, 2001; Trade Ministers had agreed on the reduction or elimination of tariff peaks, high tariffs and tariff escalation on NAMA products
In the Framework Agreement of July, 2004, the General Council of the WTO agreed to work on a non-linear formula- known as the Swiss formula applied on a tariff line by line basis. The Swiss formula, which proposed two sets of coefficients, ensured that the developed countries would take higher tariff cuts than the developing countries.
The last round of negotiations took place on the basis of the NAMA text of 6th December 2008. Due to lack of consensus, the Doha round of negotiations have not yet been concluded.
Non Tariff Measures (NTMs) are all measures on international trade that are not in the form of a tariff or a tax. These measures include trade related procedures such as documentation, certification and inspections; technical regulations; standards; import related measures such as restrictions, prohibitions, seasonal duties, tariff rate quotas ; foreign exchange controls including artificial exchange rates; public procurement practices etc. Certain NTMs such as imposition of anti-dumping and safeguard duties have the effect of tariffs. On the other hand, some measures are intended to protect human, animal and plant, life and health, and are known as sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.
Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) are a sub-set of NTMs which violate the obligations under the Agreements of the WTO. Therefore, NTBs are unfair measures which serve to discriminate against imports.
The NAMA negotiations focussed on the listing of NTBs by countries. Subsequently, the Negotiating Group went into text based negotiations on various proposals.
However, like other NAMA issues, no consensus has yet been achieved with regard to the NTBs in the Doha round.