Anthony Joseph Poirier, 81, an official of the Commerce Department for more than 30 years who specialized in foreign tariffs, died of leukemia Jan. 23 at the Duke Medical Center, Durham, N. C.

Mr. Poirier was born in Shediac, Canada, and later moved to Maine, where he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He served in the Army during World War I and was wounded at Belleau Wood in France. He was hospitalized for some years before his discharge with the Purple Heart Medal.

He lived in France during the 1920s and moved to Washington about 1928. At the time of his retirement from the Commerce Department, he was acting assistant director of the Latin American branch of the office of international affairs.

Mr. Poirier taught French and Portuguese at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in addition to his work for the government.

He was one of the first members of the American Legion and was for 30 years a member of Post No. 45 at the Department of Commerce.

In 1969, after a brief stay in France, Mr. Poirier moved to Durham.

Survivors include his wife, Renee Potier Poirier, of the home in Durham; a son, Jacques C., also of Durham; a sister, Sister Mrgarita, of Biddeford, Me.; and three grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to a charity of one's choice.