Trade barrier

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A trade barrier or a trade barrier is a measure that has an inhibiting effect on the exchange of goods and services , in particular on trade between states as part of a state's protectionist attitude. Such protectionist measures are divided into tariff and non-tariff trade barriers .

Tariff trade barriers

The tariff-like (tariff-like) trade barriers fall

Non-tariff barriers to trade

Non-Tariff (Non-Tariff Barriers-, NTBs) or customs foreign trade barriers are trade measures that primarily aim at obstructing imports or promoting exports of domestic entrepreneurs. These include B.

NTBs (like tariffs) can have a major impact on international trade. The dismantling of these trade barriers and thus the promotion of international trade requires international consensus in the definition and quantification of NTBs.

Integration policy

The economic goal of integration policy is always the liberalization of trade between economies. All participating countries should benefit from such alliances of economies (e.g. GATT , WTO ).

First stage: free trade area

The first stage of integration is the amalgamation of some countries in a free trade area (e.g. EFTA - European Free Trade Association, NAFTA - North American Free Trade Agreement). Are characteristics of a free trade area

  • Settlement of trade free of trade barriers within the free trade area
  • External protectionism
  • Usually different import duties of the member states

Second stage: customs union

In the second stage, common tariffs are set that apply to the import of goods and services from non-member countries into member countries. This is called a customs union . Features in addition to those of the free trade zone are:

  • common external tariffs
  • common external quantity restrictions

Third stage: common market

The next step in integration is a common market (e.g. the EC). Beyond the characteristics of a customs union, it is indicated by

  • free factor mobility (especially labor mobility)
    • Prerequisite: uniform settlement and labor law

Fourth stage: Single Monetary Union

Another step towards integration is a single currency union (e.g. European monetary union ). Included in it

Fifth stage: Political association

The last step after the unification of all economic institutions is political unification to form a new confederation.

Effects of Protectionist Foreign Trade Policy

Not every removal of trade barriers increases the efficiency of international trade. By protectionism in both trade creation effects (trade creation effects) arise and handelsablenkende effects (trade diversion effects).

Trade-creating effects

By dismantling existing trade barriers, markets within a customs union are opened up and the internal market is strengthened. This trade-creating effect always occurs when additional goods are traded within a region due to the dismantling of tariffs or other trade barriers that were previously imported from third countries.

Trade distracting effects

Markets outside of a customs union are closed off from the member states of a customs union through increased tariff walls or other trade barriers. Potential trade with third countries is displaced by increased trade between the member countries of the customs union.

Second best theory

According to the theory of the second best , in terms of the efficiency of global trade, it may be more favorable to forego the (partial) dismantling of tariffs if the trade-creating effects outweigh the trade-deflecting effects.


The WTO , to which a large part of all nations belong, has set itself the goal of liberalizing trade and removing trade barriers in order to ultimately establish a state of global free trade , which in its opinion will guarantee more welfare for all nations. The policy of the WTO has resulted in the fact that in the past, tariff trade barriers in particular have been severely dismantled, which in relative terms has increased the number of non-tariff trade barriers, as states continue to try for various reasons in various ways to practice more or less protectionism. The powerful industrialized countries in particular violate WTO law and practice protectionism. B. in the form of agricultural subsidies ( e.g. the EU ).

Protectionists counter the liberal stance of the WTO that trade barriers are necessary to protect and thus promote one's own economy in order to survive the strong competitive pressure of the world market . This is particularly important for developing countries , which mostly have (almost) fully liberalized economies, but which have their own weak markets . a. due to their weak industrial status, could not assert a strategy of world market integration, since especially the industrialized countries would make the situation of the developing countries even more difficult due to various trade barriers.
Former developing countries such as For example, the People's Republic of China or the so-called tiger states were able to significantly strengthen their own economy or new, not yet competitive branches of industry through protectionism to such an extent that they can now be described as emerging or industrialized countries.


  • Horst Siebert : Foreign trade . UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz, 9th, completely revised. 2014 edition, ISBN 978-3-8252-8493-0 . Chapter 11: Customs, trade barriers and the world trade order , pp. 177–200.

Web links

Wiktionary: Trade barrier  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. See HYPO-Bank (1989), foreign trade lexicon.
  2. Horst Siebert: Foreign trade . UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz, 9th, completely revised. Edition 2014, pp. 177–179.
  3. See Maurer-Rogy, Kerstin; Mason Oswin; Gatterbauer, Helmuth (1992), Discussion Paper No. 12-R-92: Tariff and non-tariff market entry barriers for Austrian foods in the Federal Republic of Germany and the EC ( PDF ), April 26, 2008.
  4. See archive link ( memento of the original from October 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , April 26, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. See Borchert, Manfred (1990), Aussenwirtschaftslehre. Theory and Politics, 3rd edition, chap. 6.1.1, Wiesbaden: Gabler.
  6. See Borchert, Manfred (1990), Aussenwirtschaftslehre. Theory and Politics, 3rd edition, chap. 6.1.2, Wiesbaden: Gabler.