Market access: What help can you get from government agencies?

08 November 2016

Several Government agencies help exporters with market access - the rules and regulations that allow you to enter and operate in international markets. In this article, we look at the roles of the key government agencies and how they support exporters.

MFAT - opening up markets for your export success

Logo - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) promotes increased market access and better commercial conditions for New Zealand businesses around the world.

MFAT negotiates and implements Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). FTAs eliminate tariffs on New Zealand’s good exports, reduce other barriers faced by services exporters and investors, address visa access for business people, and foster closer border agency and regulatory cooperation with New Zealand's FTA partner countries.

MFAT can help exporters through its 57 diplomatic missions in 50 countries. It can use government networks to open doors to the right senior government contact. MFAT also helps with market intelligence and other in-country connections.

The Government is prioritising work on non-tariff barriers (NTBs) – that is barriers to exporting created by foreign government policies and regulations (such as compliance issues, new biosecurity rules, investment or visa restrictions, or rules favouring local suppliers). 

Case study

MFAT negotiated a Technology Safeguards Agreement with the United States to pave the way for Rocket Lab to establish a rocket and satellite launch venture in New Zealand. The potential economic benefit to the New Zealand economy of establishing a rocket launch industry is estimated at between $600 million and $1.55 billion over 20 years.

Contact MFAT

If you think you are being hindered by a NTB, please contact MFAT immediately on 0800 824 605 or email

Customs - supply chain management for export success 

Logo - New Zealand Customs Service

Customs works to advance market access for exporters through negotiating and implementing customs areas of Free Trade Agreements including tariffs and rules of origin. It works closely with other international Customs organisations to free up the movement of exported goods, particularly through New Zealand's preferential trade schemes.

Non-tariff barriers are becoming an increasing challenge for exporters. The Secure Exports Scheme (SES) is a voluntary partnership between New Zealand exporters and Customs designed to provide accredited exporters greater certainty at borders by giving priority and benefits while helping them clear Customs here and overseas.

Customs develops Mutual Recognition Arrangements with international customs partners who agree to facilitate our SES members. Current MRAs include Australia, the USA, Japan and Korea.

Case study

An overseas Customs administration disputed the tariff classification of shredded mozzarella cheese used by a New Zealand exporter. The potential impact of this tariff dispute was significant, adding an additional 12 percent tariff as well as capturing the mozzarella cheese in a tariff quota under our Free Trade Agreement. New Zealand Customs resolved the issue by providing the overseas administration with expert tariff advice that supported the tariff classification used by our exporter.

Contact Customs

Call 0800 428 786 (0800 4 CUSTOMS) or email Read more about Customs' work on the New Zealand Customs Service website.

MPI - connecting the dots for primary exports

Logo - Ministry for Primary Industries

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) works with government agencies in markets overseas to establish the sanitary, phytosanitary and other relevant technical requirements which New Zealand primary products need to meet to be exported and clear border inspection in the importing country.

MPI supports New Zealand exporters to understand what regulatory requirements are, and how to meet them. It also builds long term relationships with counterpart government agencies seeking recognition for New Zealand’s regulatory framework and standards.

The agency uses a market access prioritisation process (agreed with industry groups) to allocate effort to resolve non-tariff barriers for New Zealand exporters.

MPI is the key point of contact for non-tariff barriers for food and beverage and primary products exporters.

Case study

In 2015, MPI negotiated an agreement with the Australian regulators that allowed New Zealand companies to export raw and cooked poultry to Australia, providing access to a market worth over $7 billion a year.

Contact MPI

The Exporter Regulatory Advice Service helps with technical queries and provides regulatory advice to exporting businesses.

Call (04) 894 0269 or email Read more about MPI's work on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

MBIE - building strong foundations for market access

Logo - Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s primary role in supporting exporters is in creating the conditions for business success. It does this by providing advice on economic development strategies and the approaches taken to support businesses to export.

MBIE administers rules around people movement, telecommunications, intellectual property, government procurement, competition, product standards and technical specifications, and labour rights.

It works closely with New Zealand's trading partners to prevent trade barriers related to these rules and their development from arising, and also to help lessen the impact of barriers to exporting that already exist in the market.

Case study

New Zealand companies were not able to sell to the US Government directly until New Zealand negotiated to become a member of World Trade Organisation’s Government Procurement Agreement – now they have guaranteed access to bid for approximately US$1.7 trillion in overseas government contracts annually across 43 countries including the US, Canada, Korea, Japan and the EU.

Contact MBIE

Read more about MBIE's work on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment website.