NON-TARIFF MEASURES AND TRADE BARRIERS
Governments can apply their own rules and procedures to manage the flow of goods and services into their country. For example the Australian Government, like our trading partners, impose non-tariff measures on importers to protect human, animal and plant health.
However, when these rules are not transparent, are overly restrictive or arbitrarily applied, or are inconsistent with trade rules, they can become barriers to trade.
NON-TARIFF BARRIER EXAMPLES
Unjustified trade rules can occur either at the border, where products or services are permitted to enter an overseas market, or behind the border, where products or services are traded within the overseas market.
Non-tariff barriers are generally less visible than a straightforward tariff. The government works closely with industry to verify the nature of barriers, evaluate options and discuss the benefits and risks of taking action. Here are some examples of non-tariff barriers, at the border and behind the border.
At the Border
Importing country certification
Border and customs delays
Product labelling and packaging standards
Behind the Border
Local ownership rules
Foreign work requirements
Implementation of requirements
Data storage and privacy requirements
Australia’s action plan seeks to clearly define responsibilities, expectations and processes to help to improve outcomes when Australian businesses face non-tariff barriers.
To achieve this, we will seek to:
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS FOR INFORMATION SHARING
Exporters have a right to know how the government is addressing concerns about barriers affecting their business and which areas of government are responsible. To determine our approach and set clear expectations, we will clarify roles and responsibilities across government and set out how we will share information with business in a timely, accessible and comprehensive manner.
BE UPFRONT ABOUT PROCESSES, CONSTRAINTS AND LIMITATIONS
Some barriers can be overcome by seeking information or clarifying requirements. Others are allowable under WTO rules and can take years to resolve depending on the nature of the barrier and the willingness of our trading partners to take action. Despite our best efforts, some may even be intractable. Government and business will maintain open and frank lines of communication to ensure all parties are clear on what is and is not possible.
REPORT REGULARLY ON PROGRESS AND OUTCOMES
To keep the business community informed on progress eliminating trade barriers, the government will make regular reports available to the public. When industry associations conduct analysis of barriers affecting their exports, government will report back on how action is being taken. Reporting and feedback will be provided to individual businesses reflecting their specific concerns, and in aggregate based on industry-wide trends.