Supporting SMEs

Trade agreements can act as a springboard to launch New Zealand small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) onto the world stage. CPTPP is the first free trade agreement to include a chapter on SMEs.

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SMEs’ valuable contribution

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make a significant contribution to the New Zealand economy:

  • accounting for 97% of all New Zealand businesses
  • employing more than 679,000 people or 29.3% of all New Zealand employees
  • generating over a quarter of New Zealand gross domestic product.

Yet SMEs often face challenges when it comes to exporting. Non-tariff measures have become a dominant feature of international trade as tariffs have gradually been lowered or removed. These have a disproportionate impact on SMEs wanting to export due to the increased costs, and multitude, of burdensome compliance requirements that can generally be more easily absorbed by large-scale firms.

To recognise this, many CPTPP outcomes aim to make it easier for SMEs to trade with the ten markets. CPTPP Parties have a shared interest in promoting the participation of SMEs in trade and to ensure that SMEs share in the benefits of CPTPP.

Reduced costs

CPTPP spans 12 economies in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond so SMEs benefit from tariff elimination or reductions in multiple overseas markets under a single trade agreement. The United Kingdom has formally acceded to CPTPP but the benefits won't take effect until the protocol is ratified by CPTPP members.

There will be particular tariff benefits in Japan, Mexico, Canada, and Peru – our new trade agreement partners under the CPTPP – as well as improvements with our existing partners such as Viet Nam and Malaysia.

If you're a goods exporter, this journey map(external link) will help you scope a market by identifying which free trade agreement benefits are available, what requirements need to be satisfied, and what you need to do to make sure you receive the benefits.

To find out what tariffs apply to your exports, use the online Tariff Finder tool(external link).

Fewer impediments to doing business

CPTPP also helps to reduce non-tariff barriers such as the removal of market access restrictions (in services and investment); removal of location requirement of computing facilities (in e-commerce); and non-discriminatory treatment and commercial consideration requirements (for state-owned enterprises).

CPTPP’s technical barriers to trade chapter includes seven sectoral annexes aimed at reducing unnecessary barriers to trade in these products: wine and distilled spirits, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, proprietary formulas for pre-packaged food and food additives, information and communications technology products, and organic products.

The wine and distilled spirits annex, for example, seeks to minimise unnecessary labelling requirements which will simplify the sale and export of New Zealand wines in CPTPP markets; while the medical device annex encourages CPTPP Parties to take a scientific and risk-based approach to regulating medical devices and avoid duplication in regulatory practice.

Faster processes

CPTPP’s customs administration and trade facilitation rules will reduce the financial and administrative burden for SMEs waiting for products to be delivered. This includes the speedy clearance of goods with a commitment to release normal trade within 48 hours and express shipments within 6 hours.

Independently verified certificates of origin are not required to claim a CPTPP tariff preference. Instead, CPTPP Parties will accept a declaration [PDF, 44 KB] from the producer, exporter or importer of a good. There is no prescribed form for this declaration, but this template [DOCX, 19 KB] is to help you meet these requirements. This declaration may be provided in electronic form.

Importers will also be able to obtain an advance ruling on specified matters and to access administrative and judicial review processes.

Enabling participation

CPTPP economies have recognised the need to facilitate participation of SMEs in government procurement.

The Agreement encourages free provision of tender documentation, conducting procurement through electronic means, and consideration of the design of the procurement including the possible subcontracting by SMEs.

There is also a requirement for suppliers to have access to an independent review body when procurement covered by the Agreement does not comply with the terms of the Agreement.

Regulatory input and coherence

CPTPP economies are obliged to establish good regulatory quality management systems of the type already maintained by New Zealand. This will ensure that information on new regulatory measures affecting trade is publicly available.

Economies are also encouraged during Regulatory Impact Assessments to take into account the impact of proposed regulations on SMEs.

Compatibility with international standards is emphasised in areas of telecommunications, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and customs to create better uniformity across markets for SMEs to be able to follow more easily.

Responsive governments

We want to help New Zealand SMEs to succeed in international markets. If you’re experiencing issues with exporting, you can request government support by registering a trade barrier(external link) or find out which government agency can help you.

CPTPP economies have pledged to cooperate to support SMEs. Officials will meet regularly to review how well the CPTPP is serving SMEs, consider ways for SMEs to further take advantage of the Agreement, enhance the participation of SMEs in regional supply chains, share best practice, and explore capacity building opportunities such as export counselling, assistance, and training programmes for SMEs.

Access to information

CPTPP economies must provide information online that assist SMEs with information that it deems useful for trading, investing or doing business such as tax information, business registration procedures, regulations concerning customs, intellectual property settings, investment, and employment law.

CPTPP economy websites with content aimed specifically for SMEs include:

CPTPP websites are also maintained by:

Resources for SMEs

The following information may be useful for SMEs trading, investing or doing business in New Zealand:


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