Global Economic and Trade Update for New Zealand Businesses - 5 March 2021


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Domestic Update

  • As of Tuesday 23 February, the whole of New Zealand is at Alert Level One. Face masks or coverings are required on all public transport and flights throughout New Zealand. Guidance about workplace activities allowed under the different alert levels can be found here(external link).

Regional Updates


  • The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has notified New Zealand exporters that electronic certification (paperless certification) for seafood products commenced on 22 February 2021 for exports to the Philippines. This follows implementation of electronic certification for meat products to the Philippines in November 2020. Further information can be found in MPI’s F9/21 FYI document(external link) (including instructions on applying for access to the document).


  • The third round of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the UK and New Zealand took place from 26 January to 9 February. Negotiators met virtually across 25 issue-specific working groups. This round saw an increase in intensity, with text agreed in most areas of the negotiations and a dedicated chapter for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises substantively concluded. Both sides remain committed to the quick conclusion of a high quality, comprehensive and inclusive FTA. For more detail on the progress made at round three (as well as previous rounds) we invite interested stakeholders to read our detailed round summary reports.


  • US Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Seth Meyer has confirmed that the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program(external link) (CFAP) “remains frozen” while the new administration looks into the programme that has paid out more the US$26 billion to agriculture producers impacted by the pandemic. Meyer indicated that discussions on the future of CFAP would begin “in earnest” once Secretary of Agriculture designate Tom Vilsack was confirmed by the Senate. Vilsack was subsequently confirmed by the Senate on 23 February.
  • Brazilian media have reported that Brazil and Argentina are discussing the possibility of a 20% average cut in the MERCOSUR Common External Tariff (CET). The CET is a set of tariffs on goods and services imported from companies within the bloc. Brazil made an unsuccessful attempt to reduce the CET in 2019 just prior to the election of Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez. The proposal this time has come from the Argentinian side, but has been welcomed by Brazilian Economy Minister Guedes who has faced barriers in achieving his objective of opening up the Brazilian economy.
  • The Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism launched the new version of the “Plan Vallejo”, in an effort to boost non-petroleum exports, the service sector and investment. This initiative reduces taxes on exported goods and eliminates red tape and processing times.  The Ministry aims to attract 30% more participants in this programme in 2021 and 2022.

Market reports released this week 

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.

More reports

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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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