In association with

Trade agreements, exporting rules and barriers to trade

Getting the best deal from international trade is vital for the New Zealand economy and the prosperity of all New Zealanders. The Government works to secure access to overseas markets for New Zealand businesses and to make sure we get the best trading conditions possible.

As an exporter, you can benefit from the numerous preferential trade agreements and export schemes New Zealand has negotiated internationally over the years, designed to promote the export of our goods. Despite these agreements, some businesses still experience difficulties or barriers to exporting their goods overseas. Government agencies may be able to reduce, prevent or even remove some of these barriers.

Trade Barriers

Red tape can push up costs.

Trade barriers can make it costly or difficult to export to a particular market. When they are created by government policies and regulations they are often referred to as non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) are rules, such as government policies and regulations that make it costly or difficult to export to a particular market. You might experience these as ‘red tape’, ‘roadblocks’ or ‘costs of doing business’.

The barriers can arise with any type of export from food to digital goods and services, eg:

  • administrative procedures
  • quantity restrictions (such as quotas)
  • licensing requirements
  • data storage requirements
  • privacy requirements
  • board director requirements
  • procurement rules
  • price controls
  • subsidies
  • product labelling requirements.

What help is available to break the barriers?

Who to talk to about non-tariff barriers


If you’re a manufacturer, and you’re facing regulatory restrictions on your exports, eg standards, rules in selling to foreign governments, or other restrictions blocking you from exporting, contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Email |

Education services

If you export education services, including teaching international students in New Zealand or overseas and face trade barriers like licensing requirements, investment and foreign ownership restrictions or qualifications recognition contact Education New Zealand for help.

Email |

Support Services(external link) — Education New Zealand

Services and investment

If you're a service provider or investor and encounter trade barriers like foreign equity caps, data storage requirements or procurement rules that are unfairly preventing you from exporting your services offshore, get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) for assistance.

Phone | MFAT Exporter helpline 0800 824 605
Email |

Promoting free and open trade(external link) — Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Food and primary industries

If you are facing barriers for your food and primary sector exports the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can help deal with barriers for food safety and standards, or animal welfare.

Phone | 0800 00 83 33
Email |

Get help with exporting(external link) — Ministry for Primary Industries

Trade barriers clearing house

For additional information on barriers to trade; for trade barriers not covered above; or you are unsure where to register your issue, the below site can help. Inquiries registered will be directed to the agency best able to assist.

Trade barriers(external link) — New Zealand Government

Customs help

Customs can help with advice on a range of export issues including border clearance issues, tariff classification, and rules of origin. Contact New Zealand Customs:

Email |

Make sure your products are exported securely and in the best condition.

Make sure your products are exported securely and in the best condition.

Secure Exports Scheme(external link) — New Zealand Customs Service

Key exporting rules

New Zealand Customs can help if you are intending to:

  • export goods out of New Zealand
  • export commercial goods in your luggage
  • get customs clearance for exported goods
  • find out the payments you might expect when exporting goods out of New Zealand
  • find out what documentation and clearance requirements are when exporting goods.

Export(external link) — Customs New Zealand

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