Is a trade barrier holding back your export business?

Register a trade barrier and let the Trade Commissioner Service help you.

Trade barriers include any policies and regulations that prevent you from trading goods. Barriers can include tariffs, labelling requirements and local content requirements.

Barriers that can affect trade in services include regulations that discriminate against foreign services suppliers, requirements for specific types of legal entities, such as joint ventures, restrictions on the number of foreign services suppliers, requirements for a commercial presence, lack of transparency, and restrictions on obtaining a licence.

Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, tariffs, labelling requirements and other similar rules can affect your potential to export Canadian agriculture and agri-food products.

What are trade barriers?

Barriers include administrative procedures, quantitative restrictions (such as quotas), price controls, licensing requirements, product labelling requirements and privacy requirements. Trade barriers take two forms:

  • Tariff barriers—Tariff barriers are taxes imposed by a government on imports or exports of goods. These taxes can be used to increase the cost of imported products, make inputs available to domestic producers at more competitive prices and raise revenues for governments.
    Use the Canada Tariff Finder tool to check tariffs applicable to your product in a foreign market and see what reductions may apply to your products as a result of Canada’s free trade agreements.
  • Non-tariff barriers—Non-tariff barriers can affect all forms of goods and services. Sometimes referred to as “red tape,” these barriers typically include quotas, boycotts, licences, standards and heavy regulations, local content requirements, restrictions on foreign investment, domestic government purchasing policies, exchange controls and subsidies.

Note: Some regulations make sense, such as those aimed at protecting public health or the environment. In such cases, foreign governments may agree that Canada’s regulations provide equivalent protection or they may improve their own regulations to achieve the intended results without impeding international trade.

How can we help?

The Trade Commissioner Service will work closely with you to get the best possible outcome for your company in addressing a trade barrier. The Trade Commissioner Service, working with partner departments, will examine the specific context and talk the issue through with foreign agencies to identify possible solutions.

Some barriers can be cleared up quickly, but others can take several years to resolve. The timeframe will depend on the nature of the trade barrier and also on the willingness of the foreign partner to help overcome it. Some may never be resolved, for reasons beyond Canada’s control.

More information on trade barriers and services for exporters

For more information on trade barriers and export services, visit:

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