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Importers and customs

The New Zealand Customs Service is the government agency with the job of ensuring the security of our borders by protecting the economy from harmful imports and exports. This means they work closely with other agencies to make sure that what is coming into our country is safe and will not compromise either our security or our livelihood.

The New Zealand Customs Service investigates illegal activity, collects revenue and prosecutes where necessary.

Preparing to import

If you’re intending to import goods into New Zealand of any kind, the most important thing to remember is that all commercial goods must be cleared through Customs.

Commercial goods are considered any goods intended for use in your business, or for resale.

All goods brought into New Zealand for business or commercial uses need to be cleared by submitting an import entry clearance or Electronic Cargo Information (ECI) form. In most cases, clearance is undertaken by a customs broker or freight forwarder on your behalf (although you can do this yourself if you choose to).

The process of customs clearance means goods will be subject to security screenings and the payment of import duties, goods and services tax (GST) for certain items, or other applicable charges. Goods from certain countries have lower duty rates than those from others.

The following resources explain how the import process works, what you will need, and where you can find additional information:

Lodge your import entry (external link)  

Ensure you are registered and have the necessary credentials before submitting an import entry clearance:

Pets and domestic animals (external link)  

Strict rules surround the importation of any animals into New Zealand, including those for breeding and commercial purposes:

Preferential tariffs (external link)

Goods from certain countries have lower duty rates, which you may be able to take advantage of when you are importing.

Accompanying imported goods

Business owners often bring in commercial goods, such as one-off imports or product samples, as accompanied luggage on a flight into New Zealand. 

These goods are still classed as imported goods, and are treated the same as goods brought in by other means. You will need to complete an import entry clearance either before or after you land in New Zealand. Your goods will also be subject to duty, GST, and any other applicable fees and charges.

At the very least, you’ll need to declare the goods on your arrival card and make Customs aware that you are carrying imported commercial goods.

Resources that will help you prepare to accompany imported goods:

Lodge your import entry (external link)  

Make sure you know what documents will be needed if you intend accompanying commercial goods into New Zealand:

 Temporary imports (external link)   

Sometimes you may be bringing in goods that you intend to take out at a later date. These are known as temporary imports and different rules apply.

Import charges and concessions

If you’re importing goods commercially, you’ll need to be aware that they are subject to duty, GST, and possibly other charges.

In some cases, preferential tariffs (external link)  may work in your favour when it comes to calculating your duty.

If you submit your own import clearances, you’ll need to know how to calculate your fees and charges correctly. If, on the other hand, you use the services of a customs broker, agent or freight forwarder, they will be well equipped to work out your charges for you.

Customs can offer you various ways in which to pay any duty you owe. In addition, in the event that you end up paying too much, you will find it easy to claim a refund.

Find out here about working out your charges, the methods of payment that are available, and whether you are eligible for any concessions:

There are various duties and charges to consider when bringing commercial goods into the country. This guide lists the individual charges and current rates:

Allowances and charges (external link)  

Information on the ways to calculate and pay your Customs charges and how to apply for a refund:

Payments and refunds (external link)

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