Document Type


Publication Date

February 2007


This article articulates the potentially fatal consequences of administrative barriers to the goal of developing poor countries and suggests retooling the current trade norms and policies in a developmentally-friendly manner. The article constructs the concept of administrative barriers centering on domestic regulations, i.e., antidumping measures, regulatory standards, and rules of origin, which have the most potential to obstruct development. It then highlights developmental hazards of these administrative barriers. It observes that both protectionist antidumping duties and the excruciating investigative procedures tend to offset developing countries' comparative advantages in favor of developed countries' domestic producers. It then argues that under-capacitated developing countries suffer from developed countries' high-end regulatory standards which are often disguised protectionism. The article also contends that most preferential trade agreements between developed and developing countries are not a solution but yet another problem to development because of their complicated rules of origin which cancel out most opportunities for development through beneficial trade. The article then suggests retooling the current trade norms and policies to remedy this situation. It proposes that antidumping investigations be suspended or curtailed for low-income developing countries, that regulatory dialogue be pursued between rich importing countries and poor exporting countries in order to streamline standards and build capacity, and that rules of origin be loosened and simplified to offer developing countries expanded access to rich countries' markets. The article concludes that addressing administrative barriers will mainstream the once marginalized world poor in the currents of global commerce and thus help them help themselves, which eventually tends to promote global peace and security.