Guide to using free trade agreements for goods exporters

On this page

Navigating free trade agreements

Free trade agreements can help your export business. This guide explains the steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of them.

1. Market scoping

This step will help you identify which free trade agreements are available, what benefits they provide, and what you need to investigate further.

Search online:

Use the tariff finder(external link) to find tariff information for products exported to different countries.

It will help you to:

  • Identify your market
    • Access every free trade agreement and quickly see the status of your destination market
    • Access tariffs for 130 other markets with which we do not have free trade agreements
  • Classify your product(s)
    • Find the product classification code
  • Quickly check the Rules of Origin (ROO)
  • Compare tariffs in multiple markets (if relevant)
  • Determine what tariff benefits the free trade agreement provides over other markets where there is no free trade agreement

Country-specific free trade agreement guides are available.

2. Detailed assessment

This step will help you work out which free trade agreement requirements you need to complete so that your business will benefit.


a. Product classification codes and tariff rates

Use the tariff finder for an initial assessment. For specific advice, contact New Zealand Customs’ Valuation, Origin and Classification Unit at:

b. Rules of Origin (ROO)

Your product will need to meet requirements to be eligible for ‘New Zealand origin’ status. If you need more information refer to the Rules of Origin chapter of the relevant free trade agreement or contact Customs at:

c. Documentation requirements

You may need to obtain a Certificate of Origin (COO) or make a Self-Declaration of Origin (DOO) if this applies under the free trade agreement.

d. Shipping requirements

If your goods will be transited through an intermediary country, they need to stay under Customs control or you may lose your Rules of Origin (ROO) eligibility.

e. Other requirements

There may also be other requirements that you need to meet. Some products may need new approvals. Some may need to comply with existing requirements such as food, animal or plant safety, and labelling or packaging requirements, before exports can take place. Talk to your importer for further information or email:

Engage in-market

You are now ready to start exporting using a free trade agreement, but some ongoing things to be aware of are:

  • Your importer/distributor is responsible for claiming your tariff benefits in the destination market
  • You need to keep your in-market partners informed and active in the process
  • You need to confirm acceptable freight content with freight forwarders.

If you need in-market help, including sourcing local rulings and translations, contact New Zealand Trade and Enterprise(external link)

 3. Start exporting

This step helps you make sure you get the benefits from a free trade agreement by providing the right documentation, including:

  • Verification that the goods are of New Zealand origin - either a Country of Origin (COO) form from a New Zealand authorised certifier, or make a Self-Declaration. Lists of COO certifying bodies can be found in the tariff finder(external link) and in the Customs factsheets(external link)
  • Proof of compliance with any transit requirements (if necessary) to retain origin status. If the destination market is China, a Certificate of Non-Manipulation (CNM) may be required.

4. Keep up to date

Once you are exporting you should periodically review information to make sure you are making the most of free trade agreements.

  • Keep an eye out for any free trade agreement amendments that will help your business
  • Reassess tariff updates and ensure you are meeting all the requirements as your business evolves
  • Review supply chain opportunities
  • Notify key parties of any changes in business/process.


We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. You can find out more information on our Privacy Page.