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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


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

Email |
Website | MBIE (external link)

Education services

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

Email |
Website | Education New Zealand (external link)

Services and investment

If you are a service provider or investor and encounter non-tariff barriers such as 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 |
Website | MFAT (external link)

Food and primary industries

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can help primary industry sector exporters deal with barriers for food safety and standards, or animal welfare.

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

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.

Website | (external link)

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 |

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.

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