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Advice

Selling goods to New Zealand

Free Trade Agreement overview

Overview

New Zealand is an exciting opportunity export market for UK companies. Pro-competition regulation, an efficient tax regime, an open political system and investment in innovation, have all contributed to an efficient and competitive New Zealand economy. The UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will mean UK goods and services will become more competitive in the New Zealand market, with UK exports to New Zealand estimated to increase by £700 million, when compared to projected levels in 2035 in the absence of the FTA ( DBT (2021), UK-New Zealand FTA Impact Assessment).

UK businesses will benefit from the immediate removal of tariffs on 100% of UK goods exports, worth £17 million annually. These tariff reductions include clothing (up to 10%), footwear (up to 10%), buses (5%), ships (up to 5%) and bulldozers and excavators (up to 5%). Flexible rules of origin will also give UK firms an advantage over international rivals in the New Zealand import market, a market which is expected to grow by around 70% between 2021 and 2035 (DIT ‘Global trade outlook - February 2023 report’).

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UK exports to New Zealand estimated to increase by £700 million, when compared to projected levels in 2035 in the absence of the FTA

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UK businesses will benefit from the immediate removal of tariffs on 100% of UK goods exports, worth £17 million annually

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The New Zealand import market, a market which is expected to grow by around 70% between 2021 and 2035


Greater access to New Zealand markets and reduced regulatory burdens on goods and services are expected to bring extensive opportunities for UK businesses and consumers. Beyond tariffs, the FTA will heighten opportunities for goods exporters with increased access to bid on covered government contracts, and a commitment to the facilitation of customs procedures and reduction of technical barriers to trade. The FTA will also allow the UK and New Zealand to cooperate more closely through joint standard development in areas of shared interest.

New opportunities for goods exporters:

Do you currently export machinery to New Zealand and want to understand how the FTA might benefit you? Beyond reduced tariffs and flexible rules of origin lowering the cost of exporting, UK companies will have increased access to covered government contracts and will have easier access to service products once installed.

Are you looking to new markets to expand your footwear exports and take advantage of opportunities in New Zealand? Over 25% of Kiwis were born overseas and many have either travelled or worked in the UK. This creates demand for quality British brands that are often not found in local New Zealand high streets, and online marketplaces provide access to those goods. Under the FTA, your product will benefit from 0% tariffs, flexible rules of origin, and simpler and faster customs procedures.

Are you developing a clean tech product and thinking about a future export strategy? New Zealand is in the market for UK goods, and the FTA can help you cut costs and fast stream your exports to this market. Furthermore, UK and New Zealand government clean energy commitments are underpinned by the FTA’s environment chapter, which will lead to increased opportunities for businesses whose products support wider environmental goals.

Tariffs and rules of origin

The UK-New Zealand trade agreement will remove tariffs on all UK goods, making it easier for businesses to sell to New Zealand. To qualify for zero tariffs, you will need to prove that your goods originate in the UK. The steps are:

  1. Finding your Commodity Code
  2. Determining Rules of Origin
  3. Proving Rules of Origin
  4. Filing Documentation

Please refer to the New Zealand Rules of Origin guidance for more detailed information and the New Zealand Rules of Origin quick guide for an overview of the process.

Before exporting their goods, traders can request a legally binding, written decision from the relevant customs authority on the tariff classification and origin of their product. Both New Zealand and the UK will ensure that the trader receives the ruling within 90 days after receiving the request.

Advance rulings will be available for:

Origin:

UK Advanced Origin Ruling

New Zealand Customs Rulings

Tariff Classification:

UK Advanced Tariff Ruling

New Zealand Tariff Rulings

Customs

The UK and New Zealand have committed to simplifying documentation and data requirements with a view to accelerating the release of goods from customs and reducing the time and cost of compliance for traders. This commitment includes allowing customs declarations to be submitted electronically, using electronic/automated systems for risk analysis and targeting, the introduction of single window systems, and allowing duties, taxes, fees, and charges to be paid electronically.

A commitment to release goods within 48 hours of arrival if requirements have been met, will save time and money for businesses. Perishable goods and expedited shipments will, under normal circumstances, be released within 6 hours if the necessary requirements have been met. Eligible traders can also benefit from measures that further simplify customs procedures including reduced data and documentation requirements for customs declarations, deferred payment of duties and taxes until after the release of the imported goods, aggregated customs declarations that cover multiple imports, and use of a guarantee with a reduced amount or a waiver from use of a guarantee. For more details please see the FTA customs guidance.

Digital trade, procurement opportunities and more

The FTA harnesses the potential of digital technologies, to make all forms of trade cheaper, easier and faster. It ensures the free flow of trusted data and world-leading standards for personal data protection. It guarantees the free flow of digital content between the UK and New Zealand by ensuring that the content is not subject to customs duties. It also ensures the legal recognition of electronic contracts and signatures. For goods exports, this includes commitments to paperless trading to reduce the need for physical paperwork at the border over time.

FTA procurement provisions will allow UK companies access to a large number of covered New Zealand government bodies including central government departments, listed subcentral government entities and other linked organisations. Higher screening thresholds of $200 million New Zealand Dollars (NZD) mean that fewer UK investments will be subject to review under New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, limiting barriers to UK business.

Intellectual Property (IP) provisions will support trade in a wide range of sectors, through adequate, effective and balanced protection and enforcement of IP rights, and will encourage innovation and creativity. The FTA ensures that IP rights holders, including UK SMEs, can make use of online electronic registration systems and online databases for registering and maintaining trade marks, crucial to the retail and creative sectors.

Similarly, this deal could see a wide range of iconic UK products given protected Geographical Indication (GI) status in New Zealand in the future, which could be of great benefit to the UK agri-foods industry. See the FTA IP guidance for information to help you protect, manage and enforce your intellectual property rights in New Zealand.

There is a dedicated SME chapter in the FTA to specifically support SMEs in the UK and New Zealand to trade in each other’s markets. This includes provisions to provide up-to-date and easy-to-access trading information online, such as links to the websites of both the UK’s and New Zealand’s government agencies or authorities that provide information considered useful to any person interested in trading and investing.

There is a wide range of cooperation activities that the UK and New Zealand may explore, ranging from trade finance and payment practices to SMEs’ integration into global supply chains. The UK and New Zealand are also encouraged to exchange best practices on how to run trade training programmes to enable SMEs to take advantage of the commercial opportunities of the deal. This means that UK SMEs can receive more direct help in identifying commercial partners in New Zealand. Please see the FTA SME guidance for further information. The SME Chapter also includes a list of all other Chapters within the Agreement which include provisions that benefit SMEs.

Investment

Fewer UK investments will need to pass under New Zealand's overseas investment regime, with only those over NZD $200 million and those in certain sensitive sectors being subject to review. This is a doubling of the UK's previous threshold. For the first time New Zealand agreed to a whole economy market access provision within the investment chapter, reflecting improved market access for all investors in addition to easier processes.

New Zealand has gone further than ever before on removing nationality and residency requirements for senior managers and boards of directors, allowing UK companies to maintain control over business operations and recruitment.

UK investors will be covered by a range of investment protections. This includes 'Expropriation' and 'Minimum Standard of Treatment' provisions which guarantee UK investors protection from the unlawful expropriation of assets, and discriminatory, unfair, or arbitrary treatment by New Zealand.

Inclusive and sustainable trade

Modern provisions include an innovative chapter on trade and gender equality that aims to support women to fully access the opportunities of free trade. Our countries have agreed to work together to break down systemic barriers that prevent women from participating equitably in the global economy and promote the importance of a gender perspective in the UK and New Zealand’s trade and investment relationship.

The FTA includes provisions to enhance the ability of Māori owned enterprises to access and benefit from the trade and investment opportunities from the agreement. This will bring benefits for UK enterprises as it will provide a framework to develop links between UK SMEs and the Māori-owned business sector, which has grown from NZD $16.5 billion to almost NZD $70 billion in less than 20 years.The Māori asset base has grown faster than the overall New Zealand economy at around 10% per year for the past decade (APEC 2021 New Zealand, Māori Economy).

The environment chapter strengthens cooperation on areas such as sustainable agriculture and the transition to a circular economy and contains a list of over 250 environmental goods with liberalised tariffs. Underpinned by each country’s global leadership on environment and climate change, this will promote increased opportunities for businesses whose products support wider environmental goals.

Finally, the Trade and Development Chapter, one of the first of its kind within a bilateral free trade agreement, reinforces the UK’s and New Zealand’s commitment to promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, through trade.

New Zealand product regulations and standards

Information on regulations that apply to your industry can be found on the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Product Safety website. Here you can find an overview of mandatory regulations and voluntary product safety regulations, an overview of compliance responsibilities, and information on how product safety regulations are enforced by the New Zealand Customs Service at the border. Some products will have additional legal or regulatory requirements and you will need to check with the appropriate regulatory body to find out what is required. Examples include food and supplements; cosmetics; electrical and gas products; among others. You can find further information including relevant contact details on the website above.

Similarly, packaging and labelling of goods must meet New Zealand Consumer Information Standards. There are specific labelling requirements for products such as footwear, food and used motor vehicles. All labelling must use the metric system.

The FTA builds on existing WTO commitments that ensure that any regulations that either the UK or New Zealand introduce are nondiscriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. Marking and labelling provisions in the FTA embed best practice for a trade-facilitative approach. The UK and New Zealand have also agreed specific cooperation provisions in certain sectors, notably on cosmetics, wine and spirits, medical devices and medicines.

Separate to the FTA, the UK and New Zealand have a Mutual Recognition Agreement that contains the conditions under which each country will accept conformity assessment results from the other. It covers electromagnetic compatibility; low voltage equipment; machinery; medical devices; pressure equipment; telecommunications terminal equipment; and good manufacturing practice (pharmaceuticals).

These UK goods can be tested in the UK against New Zealand regulations. The goods can then be sold in New Zealand without additional testing in New Zealand. The UK Market Conformity Assessment Bodies database provides a list of UK-based CABs (also referred to as ‘Approved Bodies’), including those designated under the UK-New Zealand Mutual Recognition Agreement.

Additional information for selling goods in New Zealand

Selling goods in New Zealand will require following certain rules and regulations according to the agreements you have in place with your buyer.

For further information on incoterms and import conditions into New Zealand, please visit the following resources: International trade contracts and incoterms.

The New Zealand Customs Service regulates all goods imported into New Zealand. You’ll need to provide import declarations and documents and pay all relevant duties and taxes.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax on most goods and services in New Zealand. The current GST rate is 15%. Learn more about GST on the New Zealand government website.

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Case study: exporting a non-regulated good to New Zealand

Please note that this case study is illustrative only and should not be relied on as a substitute for your own research. Exporters should check on the most up to date rules and processes with the relevant customs authority.

Actions taken by the exporter before exporting

1. Agree incoterms and terms of payment with importers in Australia

"Shipping DAP to New Zealand importer"

To clear UK customs, UK exporters (or whoever is handling customs procedures on their behalf) will need to ensure all of the following steps are met:

2. Determine the HS code(s)

Use the UK's Trade Tariff tool to find your HS code

"HS 330730 “perfumed bath salts and other bath preparations"

3. Check if goods are prohibited

Check whether your good is restricted/needs a licence. Check the standards and regulations applicable to your good.

4. Gather commercial documents and submit to transporter

  • Commercial invoice (content of goods and demand for payment)

"New 300x bath salt packages, value 2 NZD each, total value 600 NZD"

  • Packing list (weight, packaging and carton numbers of goods)
  • RoO documents

"Shipment is under the threshold of 2000 NZD so no proof of origin is required."

5. Gather shipping documents (done by the transporter)

"Bill of landing, as the good is sent by sea"

7. Check if you need to submit an Exit Summary Declaration

"Safety and security requirements met, do not need to submit Exit Summary Declaration"

Actions taken by the importer to clear New Zealand customs

1. Ensure they possess all applicable permits

Submit an Impending Arrival Report at (air)port of entry

2. Submit an Impending Arrival Report at (air)port of entry

3. Submit an Actual Arrival Report at (air)port of entry

For further information on exporting from the UK, use the check duties and customs procedures for exporting goods tool.

For further information on importing into NZ, use the New Zealand customs service.

Doing business in New Zealand

The UK and New Zealand share a common language and culture, as well as business and legal practices such as intellectual property (IP) protection and the rule of law. These similarities make New Zealand a relatively easy place for British companies to do business.

New Zealand is a highly educated, wealthy and tech-savvy market where around 42% of the population live in New Zealand’s 3 major cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch making it easy to prioritise where to test and launch your product or service.

New Zealand is also a logical onward step for UK companies to test the market when already doing business in Australia.

Legal disclaimer

The information provided on this webpage is for guidance only and should not be relied on as a substitute for your own research or independent advice. No investment and/or business decision should be made solely on the basis of information presented in this document. It is recommended that an independent due diligence investigation is conducted before entering into engagement with any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. DBT accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage caused to any person as result of any error, omission, inaccurate or misleading statement in this document. The accuracy, completeness or up-to-dateness of the content of any website mentioned in this document is not guaranteed in any way, implied or explicit.

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