Making the most of Free Trade Agreements

09 November 2016

As a small and distant country with a population of just 4.7 million, we will not become more prosperous by merely selling to ourselves. We have to earn it. That is why trade, exporting and international connections are so important to us.

The Government is currently working on an update to its 20-year-old Trade Policy Strategy, and I have been speaking to groups around the country seeking their input. Our existing strategy has served us well. It has significantly lowered the cost of imports and the barriers holding back our exports. However, things have changed in 20 years. The way we do business today and the global environment we operate in have moved on. That is why we need to adapt.

While we will still pursue new markets for our goods and services, a key part of this strategy will be on ensuring that the Free Trade Agreements that have been negotiated are fully implemented. 

Today we have more access to overseas markets than at any other time in our history. However, we need to make sure that business is taking full advantage of the tariff reductions that are now in place and are not” leaving money on the table”.

Take the ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand FTA as an example. Since coming into force in 2010, the agreement has eliminated most tariffs into key South East Asian markets, and is expected to deliver a NZ$71 million in cost-savings for New Zealand exporters this year. However, it is not clear that all businesses are using the available discounts when exporting to the region.

A number of Government agencies can help New Zealand businesses navigate their export journey:

  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • New Zealand Customs Service
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
How other Government agencies can help