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- On 10 February the New Zealand Government announced a new close contact exemption scheme aimed at keeping keep critical supply chains running through the Omicron outbreak. This exempts eligible workers from close contact isolation requirements, if they return daily negative tests. From 10 February businesses and organisations can register online as a critical service if they think they will meet the criteria when New Zealand enters Phase 2. Registration includes a declaration that will be able to be checked. Critical services include food production and its supply chain, key public services like health and emergency services, lifeline utilities such as power, and water supplies, transport, critical financial services, news media, and social welfare. It also includes human and animal health and welfare. Further information can be found in the press release here(external link).
Australia and the Pacific
- On 7 February, the Australian Federal Government announced Australia will reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers from around the world on 21 February. A booster dose will not be required. Australia’s international borders are currently open to Australian citizens and residents, travellers from New Zealand, the citizens of Japan, Korea and Singapore travelling from their home country, some international students, backpackers, and certain economic/labour migrants. The announcement will enable all remaining visa holders that are fully vaccinated to travel to Australia, including for business and tourism. Some health protocols (such as testing on arrival) will likely remain, as determined by each state and territory government.
- Australia’s National Cabinet agreed on 27 January that all Australian states and territories would allow New Zealand truck drivers to use their New Zealand licences in Australia, as a measure to help ease supply chain pressures caused by COVID-19. The arrangement will be valid for one year. New Zealand generally requires truck drivers with an Australian truck licence to pass a theory test before they can convert their Australian licence into a New Zealand licence.
- Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan will visit India(external link) this week for talks with his Indian counterpart, Minister Piyush Goyal, to advance negotiations on the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Both Ministers have indicated that they are committed to concluding an interim agreement in the context of concluding negotiations for a full CECA by end-2022. Minister Tehan will also sign a memorandum of understanding on behalf of the Australian Government with the Indian Government to promote further travel and tourism between the two countries.
- On 2 February, the Samoan Cabinet took a number of decisions to resume air connectivity with New Zealand over the next two weeks including resumption of cargo flights from 5 February, repatriation and Quarantine Free Travel (QFT) flights from 12 February, and Regional Seasonal Employer (RSE) charter flights from 16 February. Travel between Samoa and American Samoa remains suspended.
- Further to its decision to resume air connectivity with New Zealand, Samoa’s Ministry of Health has issued a revised and updated travel advisory with effect from 6 February. The new advisory includes a ban on any returnees originating from or transiting through the United Kingdom, Australia, Fiji or the United States (US) from entering Samoa.
- The Philippines has temporarily suspended its country risk classification traffic light system for border entry as of 1 February. Arriving travellers will be assessed based on their vaccination status, regardless of country of origin. Facility-based quarantine will only be required for those who are not fully vaccinated. From 10 February fully vaccinated tourist and business travellers from non-visa required countries (including New Zealand) may enter the Philippines. New Zealand and the Philippines have a mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates since 26 November 2021. MFAT and NZ Customs are working with the Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on putting electronic processing into operation. In the meantime, both New Zealand and the Philippines are manually recognising each country’s national digital vaccine certificates.
- The entry into force of the Entry-Exit System (EES) and European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS)(external link) has been officially delayed to the end of September 2022 and May 2023 respectively. These systems are designed to strengthen the EU’s external border in response to terrorism and the migrant crisis but have serious implications for New Zealand travellers. The EES, agreed in 2017, is an IT system and database, which will register information on the entry, exit, and refusal of entry of non-EU nationals crossing the external borders of the Schengen area. The ETIAS, agreed in 2018, is intended to remedy the current lack of information on visa-exempt third-country nationals arriving in the Schengen area. Similar to the NZeTA, ETIAS is a pre-travel online automated system, which will gather information on visa-exempt travellers to determine any irregular migration, security or public health risks.
- The European Union (EU) has initiated a dispute against China at the World Trade Organization over Chinese trade measures targeting Lithuania, including measures impacting customs declarations, halting freight trains to Lithuania, stopping issuing food export permits, cutting credit lines, and raising prices for Lithuanian companies. The EU also alleges that China has been pressuring international companies to remove Lithuanian components under threat of restrictions. Both the US and Australia have said that they will ask to join the dispute at the consultations stage (the mandatory first step in a WTO dispute).
Market reports released this week
- The previous global economic round-up can be found here.
- “Japan: Market Insights – Agritech” prepared by the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo.
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.
- govt.nz(external 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.
- The all of government Trade Barriers website(external link) can be used to register any trade barriers experienced or issues exporting to an offshore market. Queries can be sent via the website or through the MFAT Exporter Helpline 0800 824 605. Enquiries will be sent to the government agency best placed to answer.
To contact our Export Helpdesk
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.