Addressing non-tariff trade barriers

Addressing non-tariff trade barriers

Non-tariff barriers can be any kind of 'red tape' or trade rules that unjustifiably restrict the flow of goods and services.

The Government is taking action to remove these kinds of trade barriers for Australian businesses in overseas markets. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is coordinating a whole-of-government action plan to make it easier for businesses to access the help they need, improve collaboration between government and industry, and increase transparency of processes and information.

Right now, we are testing new ways of working to address non-tariff barriers. To find out more, visit the trade barriers gateway.

What are non-tariff barriers? 

Our trading partners have the right to set trade rules to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their citizens, and protect animal and plant life, just as we do in Australia. These rights are enshrined in the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international bodies.

However, such measures can become barriers to trade when they:

  • are unclear or unevenly applied
  • exceed what is necessary to meet their stated objective, or
  • are introduced to unfairly advantage local industries.

Non-tariff barriers can appear as policies that restrict imports and may be contrary to the rules of international trade. Such policies can include animal and plant health requirements that are not based on science, non-transparent or inconsistently applied product or packaging standards, or competition and government procurement policies that are in breach of trade agreements.

What is government doing to address non-tariff barriers?

The Government has launched a new Action Plan [PDF] to help Australian farmers and businesses tackle trade barriers, helping them get their goods and services into overseas markets faster, with greater ease and at a lower cost.

We are making it easier for businesses to report non-tariff barriers that are restricting their export trade, and find help to overcome them.

The Trade Barriers Gateway website provides access to a government trade barrier reporting feature for Australian businesses. Australian exporters can also raise their concerns with their industry association, as well as directly with government departments and agencies.

Australia’s action plan seeks to clearly define responsibilities, expectations and processes to help to improve outcomes when Australian businesses face non-tariff barriers.

Who can help with your non-tariff barriers?

The trade barriers coordination team is available to assist you with queries. You can report your trade barrier online, or contact us at ntb@dfat.gov.au or call 02 6178 4300.

A number of government agencies and departments are working together to find solutions to specific trade barriers.

Agriculture and Food

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is equipped to help exporters to identify and take steps to address trade barriers for agriculture and food products through a worldwide network of agriculture counsellors in key markets. If you are experiencing a non-tariff barrier get in touch with the Trade and Market Access Division ntm@agriculture.gov.au.

Manufacturing and Resources

If you are facing a non-tariff trade barrier with your manufacturing exports get in touch with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science tradefacilitation@industry.gov.au.

Services

If you encounter a trade barrier that is unfairly preventing you from exporting your services offshore, contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade services.competitiveness@dfat.gov.au.

Customs

For questions on customs export requirements across all industries call the Department of Home Affairs on 131 881, Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm.

Australian Trusted Trader is open to all businesses involved in the international supply chain that can demonstrate compliant trade practices and a secure supply chain.

For information on Trusted Trader please phone 1300 319 024 or visit www.abf.gov.au/trustedtrader.

Last Updated: 7 December 2018