Tackling trade barriers for New Zealand exporters

Tackling trade barriers for New Zealand exporters

23 August 2017

Trade barriers are rules that make it expensive or difficult to export to a particular international market. You might recognise them as ‘red tape’, ‘roadblocks’ or ‘costs of doing business’. 

The Government has launched a new service to support New Zealand exporters deal with trade barriers. 

Barriers can arise with any type of export from food to digital goods and services.

Examples can include administrative procedures, subsidies, price controls, procurement rules, quantity restrictions (like quotas), phytosanitary or technical regulations and standards, as well as specific requirements that cover licensing, data storage, privacy, board director, or product labelling requirements. 

Help available to address barriers 

NZTE works with other New Zealand government agencies to tackle trade barriers. Together we may be able to reduce, resolve or even prevent them from happening. That might be by holding government-to-government discussions – where officials talk through the issues with overseas agencies. Or it might be through longer-term free trade agreement negotiations.

Some barriers can be cleared up quickly, but others can take years to resolve. It depends on the nature of the barrier and the willingness of the international counterparts to sort them out. Some may never be resolved for reasons beyond New Zealand’s control.

Who to contact


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. 

Email: tradebarriers@mbie.govt.nz
Website: www.mbie.govt.nz

Education services

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

Email: tradebarriers@enz.govt.nz
Website: www.enz.govt.nz

Services and investment

If you are a service provider or investor and encounter 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
Website: www.mfat.govt.nz

Food and primary industries

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

Phone: 0800 00 83 33
Website: MPI: Exporting

Trade barriers clearinghouse

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: https://tradebarriers.govt.nz/

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: export2fta@customs.govt.nz