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We want to help New Zealand exporters succeed in international markets. If you’re experiencing issues with exporting or need other assistance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other government agencies can help you. Below is a guide to the services and agencies who help exporters.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can help answer exporter inquiries, particularly around investment and services. Contact the MFAT exporter helpline:
Phone: 0800 824 605
Barriers to trade
Trade barriers come in two forms:
Tariff barriers - these are the duties paid when goods cross a border.
Non-tariff barriers - rules that make it costly or difficult to export to a particular market. Governments refer to them as non-tariff barriers but businesses often describe them as red tape, bureaucratic rules, or hassles. Watch a short animated video on non-tariff barriers here.
The barriers can arise with any type of export, from food to digital goods and services.
- administrative procedures
- quantity restrictions (such as quotas)
- licensing requirements
- data storage requirements
- privacy requirements
- requirements about company directors
- procurement rules
- price controls
- product labelling requirements
- phytosanitary or technical regulations and standards.
Finding the right people to help
If you are facing a barrier in your exports, there is no wrong door in asking any of the government agencies who deal with resolving barriers. Below is a guide to which agencies cover which sectors and each will help re-direct you to the correct agency if they are unable to assist. You can expect to have your enquiry acknowledged within two working days and to hear about next steps within six weeks.
Services and investment
If you encounter a non-tariff barrier that is unjustifiably preventing you from exporting your service offshore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the agency that can help.
If you export education services and need help with non-tariff barriers, contact Education New Zealand.
Email | email@example.com
Website | Education New Zealand(external link)
If you are a manufacturer and are facing standards, regulations, and rules on selling to foreign governments, or other restrictions that are blocking you from exporting, contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Email | firstname.lastname@example.org
Food and primary industries
If you are in the primary sector and encounter non-tariff barriers, such as arbitrary rules for food safety and standards or animal welfare, contact the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Selling to governments
If you come across provisions in tender documents released by foreign governments that you feel unfairly disadvantage you compared to local suppliers (e.g. a requirement to have membership of a specific industry association), contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Email | email@example.com
Trade barriers clearinghouse
For more information on barriers to trade, for trade barriers not covered above, or if you are unsure where to register your issue, the trade barriers website can help. Enquiries registered will be directed to the agency best able to assist you.
Website | www.tradebarriers.govt.nz(external link)
We and other government agencies can help with trade barriers. We may be able to reduce, resolve or even prevent them from happening. That might be by government officials talking 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 their nature and the willingness of the foreign partner to sort them out. Some may never be resolved for reasons beyond New Zealand’s control.
Tell us through the Trade barriers website if a barrier is holding back your business.
Sometimes non-tariff barriers exist for good reasons, for example, regulations to protect public health or the environment. In those cases, foreign governments may agree that New Zealand’s regulations provide equivalent protection. Or they may improve their regulations so they meet their purpose without impeding free trade.
Services for exporters
If you’re experiencing issues with exporting, find out which government agency can help you.
Guide to free trade agreements
Free trade agreements can make your business more competitive. Find out about the processes you need to follow to get the benefits of free trade agreements.
Compare the tariff rates for goods across different free trade agreements and ensure that you are maximising your returns.
Tell us about any problems you have with non-tariff measures. We may be able to help.
How the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade helps
We are committed to building and maintaining trade access for New Zealand’s goods and services exporters. We are the government's principal advisor and negotiator for free trade agreements and have a network of staff around the world.
Exporters can sometimes experience hurdles in getting goods and services into international markets. Learn from these case studies how others have worked through issues to become successful and grow their business.