How the CPTPP benefits New Zealand goods exported to Mexico

In early 2019, NZTE researchers identified categories where New Zealand exports are not already prominent in Mexico, and matched them with CPTPP tariff reductions to show which sectors and industries stand to benefit from improved access. 

Our researcher considered only goods, not services, and worked from historical data that would not have captured recent trends or niche categories.  


Dairy is among the CPTPP’s most protected categories, with a quota system obtaining in most areas. However:

  • The CSQ model creates an opportunity to export more standard butter at a 0% tariff, rather than the MFN tariff of 20%. 
  • New Zealand can benefit from 0% tariff in blue cheese, and may be able to benefit from increasing its presence through exports of non-fresh cheeses.
  • Infant milk formula and other food preparations with less than 10% milk solids will have their tariffs reduced by 1% annually, to reach 0% in 10 years, offering New Zealand the chance to compete with EU counterparts who currently lead the market. 
  • New Zealand may be able to further increase its already strong (46%) market share in powdered whole milk, which accounts for 80% of the quota. 

Non-dairy foods 

Currently dominated by imports from USA, Mexico’s market for “other food preparations” (HS Code 21069099) is currently worth NZ$614 million annually. After the CPTPP, products in this category will have a 0% tariff and no levy on sugar content. 



Mexico currently imports more fresh and chilled than frozen meats, however NZTE researchers found some overlaps between supply and demand.  

Both New Zealand and its main competitor Australia will receive a drop from 10% to 0% for boneless frozen lamb, and bone-in will reach 0% in eight years. The smaller category of frozen beef (both boneless and bone-in) will drop from 25% by 2.5% every year, to reach 0% after eight years. 


Fresh fruits 

Mexico is the world’s third largest fruit exporter, exporting five times more than it imports, and sourcing its imports from its neighbours, USA and Chile. 

  • New Zealand is well placed to export its production technology to Mexican producers.
  • The CPTPP offers New Zealand apples a tariff reduction from 20% to 0% over 11 years, but exporters will need to wrest market share from USA, overcoming barriers of price (US apples are around US$1/kg) and Mexican consumers’ preference for waxed fruits.
  • Other fruits to receive immediate tariff reductions include cherries, avocados, mandarins, frozen sweetcorn, jam, blackcurrants and peas. Asparagus and melons will be tariff-free by 2027. 


Fresh vegetables 

Mexico is the world’s fourth largest vegetable exporters, exporting 14 times what it imports and about 20 times what New Zealand does, representing an opportunity for New Zealand production technologies. 

There is some demand for fresh or chilled onions, especially around September-November. Tariffs on onions, shallots, garlic and leeks go from 10% to 0% over a 15 year period. Mexico currently imports all of its onions from USA, at a higher average price than New Zealand exporters currently offer. 

Mexico currently imports all of its fresh/chilled potatoes from the USA, but New Zealand’s export capacity has been increasing and the CPTPP offers a tariff reduction from 245% to 0% within 15 years.  


Beer and wine 

Under the CPTPP, beer and wine receives a reduction from 20% to 0%. Sparkling wine has already had its tariff eliminated. Wines priced over US$5 will reach 0% in 2020, while wines less than US$5 will reach 0% in 10 years. 

New Zealand wine exports to Mexico are currently small but grew by 26% between 2013 and 2017. Per capita consumption is very low, but growing steadily, driven by access to lower priced wines. Red wine accounts for 60% of consumption, followed by sparkling wine. 

On-trade (HORECA) accounts for 64% of all wine sold. Tourist destinations like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta attract foreigners who are likely to recognise the value of New Zealand wine and the tropical climate suits New Zealand’s white wine. 

Mexico mainly imports cheap wine from Spain and Chile, and sparkling wine from France. More than 50% of wine sold retails for less than US$6.  

Domestic producers are gaining recognition and wine is growing in popularity with both men and women aged 25-35.  


Non-alcoholic beverages 

Although already at 0%, unfermented apple juice is an area where NZ supply and Mexican demand overlap. This demand is currently supplied by Chile, Poland and Spain.  

There is also demand in Mexico for other types of less-traditional juices.  



While there is little match between New Zealand seafood supply and Mexican demand, CPTPP tariff reductions create openings in a few niche and premium categories, including frozen cod and hake fillets, frozen rock lobster, frozen Pacific salmon, smoked Pacific salmon, king smoked salmon and frozen green mussels. 

Mexico currently mainly imports atlantic and Pacific salmon from Chile, and Tilapia and Pangasius from China and Vietnam. 



The CPTPP eliminates a 20% tariff on honey. However Mexico currently imports no New Zealand honey and is growing its own export industry. 



Under the CPTPP, several key New Zealand products will receive tariff reductions, including MDF, plywood and laminated woods, strips and friezes for parquet flooring, and particle boards. 

Mexico imports large and growing quantities of coniferous wood sawn or chipped at low prices from the USA, but New Zealand suppliers currently exporting to China might be able to find buyers in Mexico.   



Product categories due to have a 15% tariff dropped in 10 years include packing or wrapping machinery (8422); parts harvesting machinery, threshing machinery, mowers and machines for cleaning, sorting, grading agriculture produce (8433); compressors for refrigerating equipment (841430), and self-propelled trucks fitted with lifting or handling equipment (842720). 

Aluminium pistons, sleeves, rings or valves and crankcases (840991); cranes with rigid arms (842641) and mechanical seals (848440) have had their 5% tariff dropped.