Market access: international agreements and non-tariff barriers

New Zealand is involved in a number of trade treaties and international conventions. These make it easier for trade to flow between New Zealand and other signatory countries. Ongoing work by New Zealand government agencies is also helping to overcome trade barriers.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Free trade agreements

  • ASEAN-Australia / NZ Free Trade Area
  • New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement
  • Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership
  • New Zealand and Thailand Closer Economic Partnership
  • New Zealand and Singapore Closer Economic Partnership
  • Australia and New Zealand Closer Economic Relations
  • New Zealand and Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (signed but not yet in force)

Free trade agreements and other trade agreements have the effect of improving and maintaining access (for example through tariff cuts) and reducing other barriers to trade with signatory countries. 

These agreements can give you preferential access relative to firms from non-signatory countries. However, they also help to level the playing field in markets where competitors have already secured advantage through their own trade agreements.

Find out more about these trade agreements currently in force on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) website

Conventions and treaties

New Zealand has signed up to a number of conventions that may affect certain types of exporters. For example, if you are exporting hazardous waste you will need a permit from the Ministry of Economic Development as a requirement of the Basel convention. Other treaties are designed to assist exporters such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which aims to stop the trade of counterfeit good.

Search for treaties on the New Zealand Treaties Online website.

Non-tariff barriers 

Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) - also known as 'red tape', 'a roadblock', or 'a cost of doing business' – are a cost or impediment to export. With the assistance of New Zealand Government agencies, some of these barriers can be reduced or resolved. This might be through a government to government discussion, or through a longer term free trade agreement (FTA) negotiation.

NTBs can impact food and beverage, goods and services including ICT.

Examples of NTBs include administrative procedures, quantity restrictions (eg quotas), price controls, subsidies, product labelling requirements, private standards, phytosanitary and technical regulations and standards.

Some barriers can be resolved relatively quickly and others may take years depending on their nature and the willingness of the foreign partner to progress them. Some can never be resolved.

Where regulations are there for good reason, the foreign government may accept New Zealand regulations as equivalent.

Some barriers are introduced for legitimate reasons – such as to protect public health or the environment – but if they are poorly designed, can also impede free trade.

If you think you are facing a non-tariff barriers, please contact MFAT, Customs, MPI or MBIE depending on what the issue is. Find out more about how each of these agencies help companies gain market access

Export controls on strategic goods

There are a number of conventions New Zealand has signed up to regarding the export of 'strategic goods', this can cover:

  • munitions
  • chemical precursors
  • nuclear materials
  • dual-use goods that could have military applications.

If you are exporting any of these goods you will need to get a permit from MFAT. 

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