Global Economic and Trade Update for New Zealand Businesses - 21 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

Domestic update

Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, the New Zealand Government has put in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including extending(external link) pre-departure testing and Day 0/1 testing upon arrival to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Island countries. Day 0/1 testing is already in place, and pre-depature testing,  will be extended for all arriving flights into New Zealand after 11:59pm on Monday 25 January (NZT). More information can be found here(external link).

Regional updates

The Pacific Islands

On 15 January,  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown announced(external link) that ‘one-way’ quarantine-free entry to New Zealand from the Cook Islands will commence from 21 January (NZT). New Zealand officials are working closely with their Cook Islands counterparts to prepare for the recommencement of two-way quarantine-free travel in the first quarter of 2021.

On 12 January, the Government of Samoa approved an extension of its COVID-19 State of Emergency Orders to February 14, due in part to deepening concerns about the continuing spread of new COVID strains around the globe. An updated special travel advisory was issued on 11 January with enhanced conditions for Samoan nationals repatriating from or transiting through certain at-risk countries. Port security measures were also tightened.  Contact between crew members from incoming vessels and local health and port personnel will be kept to an absolute minimum.  Health and safety protocols will be enforced for every vessel authorized to dock and off-load/uplift cargo in Apia.


On 24 December 2020, the UK and EU concluded a deal on the terms of their future trade relationship. This came into force on 1 January 2021 and the UK and EU are now trading under these terms.  Information about how Brexit may affect New Zealand exporters can be found here.


As of 14 January, the US Trade Representative (USTR) has issued(external link) findings in six of ten ongoing “Section 301” investigations into Digital Services Taxes (DSTs) adopted by trading partners. USTR concluded that the DSTs adopted by India, Italy, Türkiye, Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom discriminate against US tech companies. USTR is not taking any specific action related to the findings at this time. This is follows USTR’s announcement(external link) on 7 January to suspend the introduction of tariffs on French goods in response to France’s DST, on the basis of needing to coordinate a response with the remaining investigations. Investigations into DSTs under consideration or development in the four remaining jurisdictions (Brazil, Czech Republic, EU, and Indonesia) are ongoing.

On 14 January, the Trump Administration announced(external link) the extension of import safeguards on large residential washers for a further two years. The tariff rate quota is 20%-40% depending on import volumes. Canadian washers and covered washer parts are excluded from this measure.

Ford will close its three vehicle manufacturing plants in Brazil after more than 100 years as part of its global restructuring. Brazil’s Economy Minister Paolo Guedes said the decision went against trend of strong recovery in Brazil’s industrial sector, but other commentators saw it as a sign the government needs to lower the cost of doing business in Brazil.

After initially introducing a temporary suspension of export licences for Argentine corn exports set to ship before 1 March, the Argentine government announced on 11 January a partial reopening that will allow 30,000 tonnes of corn per day to be exported. The suspension was considered necessary to maintain adequate domestic animal feed supply. In response, local producers announced a three-day stoppage from 11 January in protest against the suspension of corn exports. This stoppage follows a 20-day strike over wages by crop inspectors and maritime workers in December. Argentina’s ports and agribusiness export sector were heavily disrupted by the December strikes, with over 160 ships with almost US$1.9 billion worth of exports delayed.

Market reports released this week

The New Zealand Embassy in Seoul prepared a report on high-tech opportunities in South Korea, found here.

An economic update on Japan is available here, prepared by the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo in collaboration with the North Asia Division in Wellington.

A report on California’s new digital privacy legislation was prepared by the New Zealand Consulate-General in Los Angeles and is found here.

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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