Global Economic and Trade Situation for New Zealand Businesses - 29 January 2021


We welcome feedback from New Zealand exporters on this report as we continue to refine its content. We also invite requests for reporting from New Zealand’s network of Embassies and High Commissions. Please direct any suggestions or feedback to

Global & Multilateral update

  • On 20 January 2021, New Zealand was among 53 co-sponsors, representing 79 individual WTO Members, who signed a joint statement not to impose export restrictions against non-commercial humanitarian food purchases by the World Food Programme.

Regional updates



  • On 20 January 2021, Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States. Biden’s nominee for US Trade Representative is Katherine Tai, but she has not yet been approved by the Senate. Maria Pagan has been named as acting head of USTR in the interim.
  • On 27 November 2020, the US formally notified the WTO that it would remove certain medicines, medical devices, and critical inputs from its schedule of commitments in the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). These changes, coming into effect on 26 April 2021, mean New Zealand exporters could be excluded from the US federal government procurement market for these products. Potentially effected exporters are encouraged to engage with New Zealand government officials.


  • Thailand has removed special agricultural safeguards on New Zealand meat and most dairy products, as required under the Thailand New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership from 1 January 2021. The removal of the safeguards now means that almost half of New Zealand’s current exports to Thailand can now enter tariff and quota free.
  • New Zealand’s Country Recognition Agreement for Fresh Food and Plant Origin was extended for three years by the Indonesian Government this week, allowing 31 New Zealand horticultural product lines to enter Indonesia with reduced regulatory burdens.
  • New Zealand has signed the upgrade of our free trade agreement with China, our largest trading partner. The upgrade will modernise our 2008 FTA with China, to ensure that it reflects the significant changes in trade rules and business practices over the last decade. The upgrade will lead to tangible commercial benefits for New Zealand exporters. Highlights include enhanced trade facilitation measures, provisions that address non-tariff barriers, new market access for services and forestry exporters, new rules on e-commerce, and an increased focus on the environment.

Market reports released this week

The previous global economic and trade update can be found here.

External links

The following links may provide useful information to businesses:

  • NZTE(external link) has a website focused on providing COVID-19 information for exporters. They’ve also launched myNZTE(external link), an interactive digital portal of insights and tools available to all New Zealand exporters.
  • The Treasury releases a weekly economic update(external link) every Friday. Stats NZ has published a data portal(external link) with near real-time economic indicators.
  • MBIE publishes a sector reports series(external link) which provides regularly updated reports on all industry sectors that make up the New Zealand economy. These include official economic data and the challenges and opportunities that face New Zealand’s industry sectors.
  • link) provides tools and advice from across government to save small businesses’ time and help make the business a success.
  • MFAT has created a tariff finder(external link) which is designed to help goods exporters and importers maximise benefits from New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreements and compare tariffs in 136 other markets.

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This information released in this report aligns with the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982. The opinions and analysis expressed in this report are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views or official policy position of the New Zealand Government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Government take no responsibility for the accuracy of this report.


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