Skip to main content

For Australian exporters and importers

Addressing non-tariff trade barriers

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade coordinates a whole-of-government strategy to address existing and emerging non-tariff barriers. This work relies on close collaboration with industry and other stakeholders to identify and understand the barriers impacting Australian exports.

What are non-tariff barriers?

Non-tariff barriers refer to any kind of 'red tape' or policy measure, other than tariffs or tariff-rate quotas, that unjustifiably restrict trade.

All trading nations have the right to set trade rules to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their citizens, and to protect animal and plant life. 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;
  • more trade-restrictive than necessary to meet their stated objective; or
  • introduced to provide an unfair advantage to domestic industries.

Examples of non-tariff barriers include: animal and plant health requirements that are not based on science; non-transparent or inconsistently applied product or packaging standards; or overly burdensome administrative procedures.

Getting help with a non-tariff barrier

We encourage businesses and other relevant stakeholders to report any non-tariff barriers by emailing us at

The DFAT-led Non-Tariff Barriers Strategy coordinates efforts by multiple government departments and agencies to reduce or eliminate non-tariff barriers restricting Australian exports, including the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and the Australian Border Force.

Back to top