What is a Non-Tariff Barrier?

Policy measures other than tariffs can impact on international trade. These 'non-tariff measures' can be applied to protect human, animal and plant health and safety, to protect the environment or to achieve other legitimate public policy objectives. 

However, where non-tariff measures unnecessarily or unjustifiably restrict the flow of goods and services, they may become 'non-tariff barriers' to trade. As free trade agreements open new export opportunities, non-tariff barriers can pose market access challenges for governments and businesses. Some examples of non-tariff barriers include:

  • certification requirements for animal and plant products that are arbitrary or not supported by science
  • non-transparent or inconsistently applied product or packaging standards
  • competition and government procurement policies that are in breach of trade agreements
  • excessively onerous process and procedural conditions
  • unnecessarily burdensome domestic regulatory requirements

Significant market access and economic gains can come from addressing non-tariff barriers and the Australian Government has stepped up its efforts to address those barriers of concern to Australian exporters.