SOUTH SYDNEY, Australia – Two-hundred and sixty-one technical barriers to trade (TBT) in 40 key markets were reviewed in research co-funded under Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA’s) market access program and the results show restrictions abound.

TBTs include the technical factors that restrict trade, such as limits on expiration dates, lengthy accreditation processes and in-country distribution restrictions.

According to the review, 136 TBTs had significant trade restricting effects, the total value of the impacts being estimated at $1.25 billion (US$1.16 billion). The remaining 125 TBTs were not a source of concern or currently do not have a significant effect on trade activity.

TBTs can be as detrimental as tariffs and quotas, said Andrew McCallum , MLA’s Markets and Trade manager of international services, “Technical barriers to trade increase product preparation and delivery costs, and require compliance to conditions often exceeding commonly accepted standards,” he added. “At the end of the day, they raise the cost, increase the difficulty in supplying a particular market and often restrict export sales opportunities.

“Even in cases where Australia has negotiated reductions in tariff barriers, TBTs can dilute gains and erode the competitive position of Australian red meat,” he continued. “The prioritizing process during the research was a complex and lengthy one involving economic modeling and road testing the results with commercial exporters.”

Working through the results in conjunction with exporters and the government is the next step, since resolution of these imposts will require a joint industry and government effort.
Developing action plans for each of the key TBT, which defines the proposed strategy and assigns resources (both in Australia and in our overseas markets), will offer up an important framework for tackling these issues.

The top five TBT issues are, in descending order of significance: product age and expiration date conditions; market listing and accreditation restrictions; product entry restrictions (bans); tariff quota administration and import permit issues; and in creased packing costs from labeling requirements.