Non-Tariff Barriers Explained

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 imposes regulations on importers to protect human and animal health here.

However, when these rules are not transparent, overly restrictive or arbitrarily applied they can become barriers to trade.

Mango sales to Korea are ripe for growth

Overcoming Barriers For Mango Exports To Korea

Challenges for Korean mango imports

When the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) entered into force in December 2014, mangoes grown in Australia qualified for special tariff rates.

Despite these improvements, Australia’s growers and exporters were restricted by Korea’s food safety laws from using common procedures to improve the shelf life of mangoes. This meant exporters were not able to make the most of the agreement.

Negotiating to remove trade barriers

To complement the tariff reductions in the free trade agreement, in December 2016 the Australian Government negotiated new trade rules with Korean authorities, allowing fresher, longer lasting mangoes into the Korean market.

Since then, exports of Australian mangoes to Korea have flourished, growing by around 35 per cent from 2016–17 to 2017–18 to be worth over half a million dollars.

Opportunity to grow through seasonal demand

Mango consumption has increased rapidly in Korea, and Korean consumers consider Australia’s unique varieties a premium product.

Manbulloo Mangoes Managing Director Marie Piccone said, "There’s strong demand for mangoes from all over the world in the Korean market and Australian mangoes have got a really significant place there provided they look great and taste unique and full flavoured."

Korea imported over $70 million worth of mangoes in 2017, making it an attractive market for Australian growers and exporters.

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

At the Border

Importing country certification

Biosecurity requirements


Border and customs delays

Product labelling and packaging standards

Behind the Border

Behind the Border

Red tape

Regulatory rules

Price controls

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.