Trade for All will help ensure that our trade policy delivers for all New Zealanders, whoever and wherever they are.

New Zealand is a trading nation and we always will be. Trade is a critical part of our economy, with some 620,000 New Zealand jobs dependent on the exports we send out to the world. Imports are also important to maintain our standard of living and provide options for New Zealanders from goods such as cellphones to online streaming services. Our small size and remoteness means we need access to markets in other countries – not just for goods, services and investments, but also for people and ideas. 

We want our policies to help all New Zealanders benefit from trade. That’s why the Government is consulting with New Zealanders to develop a “Trade for All” policy.  Trade for All will help ensure that our trade policy delivers for all New Zealanders, whoever and wherever they are, and contributes to addressing global and regional issues of concern, such as environmental issues and labour standards.  Our goal is a trade policy that works alongside other government policies, to support sustainable and inclusive economic development.

What is trade policy?

We’re talking about New Zealand’s approach to trade - exports and imports and the rules and disciplines around these. This includes our involvement in the World Trade Organisation, our negotiation and implementation of free trade agreements, and the interaction between trade and domestic economic policy. You may have suggestions on other policies related to trade and we’re keen to hear those too.

What matters most to you?

Trade for All is a chance to take a fresh look at trade policy. We want to step back from looking at any individual trade agreement and instead consider trade policy in general, what we are currently doing, and what’s best for New Zealand.

We want to know what your priorities are. What do you think can be addressed through trade policy? Cabinet has agreed to some key principles on Trade for All to get the conversation started around the future direction of trade policy for New Zealand. In line with these key principles (see below for the full list of key principles approved by Cabinet), part of what we are asking New Zealanders to consider is how trade can support:

  • sustainable economic development that takes into account the impact on the environment we work and live in; and
  • inclusive economic development that supports all New Zealanders in all regions of New Zealand to succeed on the global stage, including women, Māori and people in small and medium sized enterprises.

Have your say

Public consultation is open on Trade for All until 14 October 2018.

Share your thoughts through the Have your Say (external link) website.

You can share a little or a lot, from responding to multi-choice questions through to more detailed comments, or sending a submission through to

You can also sign up here (external link) for a series of public meetings around New Zealand over the next two months or go here to register your interest in attending Māori hui.

Trade for All Key Principles

The consultations will explore support for the Key Principles approved by Cabinet:

• The creation of a genuine conversation with the public and key stakeholders around the future direction of New Zealand’s trade policy; this will include consultation with Māori, consistent with their role as a Treaty partner;

• A focus on creating new and more sustainable economic opportunities for New Zealanders of all incomes and backgrounds;

• Support for the international rules-based system and New Zealand’s contribution to its modernisation;

• Support for multilateral negotiations as a first-best option for New Zealand, followed by open plurilateral negotiations;

• Enhancing  New Zealand’s economic integration with the Asia-Pacific region, and economic connections to other regions, including through regional and bilateral FTAs;

• Support for trade policy to contribute to maximising the opportunities and minimising the risks associated with global issues, including:

  • Environmental issues including climate change
  • Protecting New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing
  • Labour rights
  • Gender equity
  • The rights of indigenous peoples
  • SME participation in international markets
  • Inclusive regional economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable job creation
  • Protecting traditional knowledge
  • Preserving the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, including for national land markets, taxation of multinational businesses and public services

• The development of specific directives for future trade policies and negotiations to operationalise Trade for All.

Short papers based on these principles are available on Have Your Say (external link) website.

What happens next?

Trade for All is about hearing a range of views from New Zealanders on how our trade policy can benefit all of us. The Trade for All Advisory Board will soon start work on identifying and discussing key issues for how we achieve this.

Collated feedback from the consultations process will be provided to the Trade for All Advisory Board to inform their own discussions. Members of the Advisory Board are still to be confirmed, but they will be New Zealanders with a wide range of views, knowledge and experience.

The Board will be chaired by trade expert David Pine who brings extensive experience in the public and private sectors. Feedback from New Zealanders, along with the Trade for All Advisory Board’s recommendations, will inform the development of Trade for All by June 2019.


Trade for All timeline

Cabinet papers and press releases