Hey there!

Welcome to the United States. With nine time zones, 50 states, and some of the most diverse geography in the world, doing business here isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ exercise. It’s wise to choose a region to tackle first, and then scale up from there.

Getting to the United States

Air New Zealand operates direct flights from Auckland to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston with flying times of around 12 hours. To get to New York (and most other places in the United States), you’ll have to stop somewhere on the way.

When to visit

The best time to visit really depends on where you’re going. Some areas can get oppressively hot during summer (particularly in the south). Spring and autumn are usually fine but be aware that tornado season arrives in the Midwest between April and June. Hurricanes are a feature of early summer along the southern East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico coast.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the United State’s national holidays, as some businesses may close during these times.

Before you go, check Safe Travel for travel advisories on the United States.

Cultural tips 

Doing business in the United States is not hugely different from other Western countries, but there are a few things to bear in mind.

  • This is not the place for modesty – sell yourself hard and provide proven results wherever possible.
  • Be prepared for breakfast meetings – working days are longer than you may be used to.
  • Americans often feel uncomfortable with silence – perfect your small-talking skills and go armed with conversation-starters.
  • Here, more than anywhere else, ‘time is money’, so get to the point quickly and speak directly.

Working in-market

Getting the most out of your visit means hitting the ground running. Co-working is an excellent option if you’re staying put for more than a few days. Facilities vary, but typically you can expect a desk, and access to wifi, printer / scanner, tea / coffee and a lounge area. Some facilities may offer extended perks such as parking and on-site cafes. If you’re visiting the market solo, it also means the chance to work in the company of other like-minded business people and freelancers. Co-working spaces can be searched by city on Nomad List

Connect with NZTE in the United States

If you’re an NZTE customer and preparing to visit United States, please get in touch with your Customer Manager to discuss your plans and possible areas of assistance. If you don’t have a Customer Manager, contact our Advisor Team for more information.

New Zealand's relationship with the United States

If you're looking for more information about our trade and diplomatic relationship with the United States, take a look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. Their United States page is packed with information, including a list of embassies and details of recent official visits.

We have a dedicated team in North America

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North America insights

Prepare for doing business in this region with our library of market guides, videos and resources.

  • I'm visiting my market. How can NZTE help me?

    If you’re an NZTE customer, please get in touch with your Customer Manager to discuss your plans and possible areas of assistance. If you don’t have a Customer Manager, contact our Advisor Team for more information.

  • I want to find an in-market distributor for my business
    NZTE doesn’t maintain lists of distributors for specific products and markets. We encourage companies to do as much of the initial search process as they can for themselves, while bringing in professional help where needed.

    You’ll find useful information on researching, finding and selecting the right distributor for you in our Export Essentials guide to understanding your channel partner options.
  • I want to find out about regulations and tariffs for export
    Regulations and tariffs should be one of the first things you find out before exporting. They often determine whether a market will be easy or hard for you to export to, or whether you should try to do business there at all.

    Understanding regulations in your export destination is a must-do. For an introduction to what you need to think about, see our guide on understanding international compliance requirements. This includes tips on how to research regulations, as well as insights on local regulations, standards, health and safety, and dealing with local bureaucracy.

    It’s a good idea to take a look at the rest of the international compliance process while you’re doing your work on regulations – see more information in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    If you’re planning to export food or food-related products, you should also check out the food exporting page on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website. MPI maintains a list of Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for New Zealand food products in different export markets – search and identify OMARs for your product online

    Tariffs can make your products more expensive and less attractive to overseas buyers, so you need to know the charges your products will attract before you commit to a new market.

    You can get a big head start in finding tariff information by using the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) tariff finder or the World Trade Organisation’s tariff download facility. You can search the databases by product name, but they work best when you know the approximate Harmonised System (HS) code for your product. HS codes are used by customs authorities around the world to identify products and apply tariffs. The longer the code is, the more precisely it describes your product. The first six digits of an HS code are usually the same worldwide – after that, there can be up to eight further digits, which often vary from country to country.

    New Zealand Customs can help you to find out the first six digits of your HS codes – email VOC@customs.govt.nz.

    To get a longer and more precise HS code for a particular market, look up and contact the local customs authority online, or talk to a customs broker or freight forwarder who has done business in that market.
  • I want to find out about packaging and labelling for export
    Packaging and labelling requirements can be very different from country to country, so get as much information as you can before making the decision to export. 

    Depending on where your products will be sold, you might need to use different materials or labels, and include different types of information. In some countries, you might have to translate all your packaging or labels into the local language – in others, applying a sticker with a few key details will do the job. 

    Make sure that you check out all of the requirements for packaging and labelling before tackling a new market, including anything that’s needed during transport or distribution. 

    You’ll find more details on the kind of things you need to think about in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    We suggest that you work with a customs broker or freight forwarder, or get advice from a lawyer in-market, to understand all the requirements for your product and the place where it’s headed. The Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Federation (CBAFF) has a list of customs brokers and freight forwarders within New Zealand.

Export Essentials Workshops

Develop your export plan in our practical two-day workshop

NZTE customers in North America achieved trade deals of $476m, and $288m investment pDEI came from the region in the 2016/17 year.
NZTE data, Lessons from Experience