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In association with

Trade agreements and exporting rules

In addition to monitoring export goods, the New Zealand Customs Service is also charged with encouraging New Zealand’s international trade. This means they work closely with other countries’ customs agencies to facilitate the movement of trade goods internationally.

As an exporter, you are in a position to benefit from the numerous preferential trade agreements and export schemes that New Zealand has negotiated internationally over the years, and which are designed to promote the export of our goods.

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

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

Customs’ initiatives such as the Secure Exports Scheme (external link) can help.

Non-tariff barriers

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. For example:

  • 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.

To learn more about NTBs watch the following short video.

What help is available to break the barriers?

Government agencies may be able to reduce, resolve or even prevent NTBs from happening.

Who to talk to about non-tariff barriers

Education services

If you export education services and need help with non-tariff barriers, contact Education New Zealand.

Email |
Website | Education New Zealand (external link)

Services and investment

If you encounter a non-tariff barrier that’s 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 |
Website | MFAT (external link)


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

Email |

Food and primary industries

If you're facing non-tariff barriers for your food or primary sector exports - for food safety and standards or animal welfare - contact the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Phone | 0800 00 83 33
Email |
Website | MPI: Exporting (external link)

Other assistance

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 |

Key exporting rules

Here are some links to key information on international agreements and Customs’ role in the export sector. On these pages, you’ll access all the information, guidance and documentation you will need in your important role as a New Zealand exporter.

Preparing to export (external link)  — If you are intending to export goods out of New Zealand, there are specific processes, documentation and clearance that are required. Find out what you need to know for successfully exporting your goods at Preparing to export.

Accompanying your exports (external link)   — Are you intending to export commercial goods in your luggage? Learn the rules for the goods take out of the country but intend to bring back, such as product samples or prototypes.

Export clearance & entry procedures (external link)  — Find out how to get customs clearance for your exported goods along with schemes and initiatives that may benefit you as an exporter.

Export charges & drawbacks (external link)  — Find out the charges and fees you might expect when exporting goods out of New Zealand, and information on refunds at Export charges & drawbacks.

Departure of commercial craft (external link)  — Find out what the documentation and clearance requirements are when leaving New Zealand.

Red tape can push up costs

Trade barriers created by government policies and regulations are called non-tariff barriers. This might be excessive red tape, onerous regulations, unfair rules or decisions, or anything else that is making it difficult for you to trade overseas and compete effectively. Find out how MBIE and other government agencies can help reduce or prevent some of these barriers on the Trade and tariffs page (external link) .

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