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Trade restrictions control and influence international trade in forest products, as they do for most products that cross international borders. They range from tariff to the less obvious, but often more complex, non-tariff restrictions. Their significance to countries engaged, or wishing to move into trade, can be quite significant. Without an awareness of the range and size of barriers that must be faced, it may be difficult to plan effectively - or in the initial stages to even determine whether it is preferable to trade outside the country.

Often just determining which, if any, restrictions exist can be a complex, or at the very least, time consuming job. In the case of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) the difficulties are increased because of the wide variety of products involved and the many different levels of their processing.

The present study was developed by FAO to partially remedy this situation. It provides information on the range of restrictions facing various NWFPs, and indicates the degree to which these may present problems to those seeking to develop their international trade in these products. In this it complements an earlier FAO study "International trade in non-wood forest products: an overview" by M. Iqbal, 1993, FO:Misc/93/11 Working Paper, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome, which provided a preliminary coverage of the characteristics of trade in NWFPs but did not consider the subject of trade barriers.

The present study was undertaken by Dr. Mohammed Iqbal and is based on information found in a wide variety of sources, but particulary individual country customs schedules and the UNCTAD trade database TRAINS. It was funded by FAO's Regular Programme, and was under the supervision of Dr. I.J. Bourke, Forest Products Division.

Karl-Hermann Schmincke
Forest Products Division

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