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Since 1983 trade between New Zealand and Australia has increased steadily. Trans-Tasman trade in goods was NZ$14.8 billion. Our goods exports to Australia were NZ$8.15 billion, making up 13.6% of our total exports.
Australia is our biggest services trade partner. 19% of all our services exports are to Australia ($NZ 3.46 billion) and services imports from Australia make up 25.5% (NZ$4.23 billion) of all our service imports.
Investment between New Zealand and Australia was almost NZ$197 billion as at December 2019. Australia is our second largest destination for overseas investment (NZ$68 billion). Australian investment in New Zealand makes up 30% of total foreign investment (NZ$129 billion). Australia is the largest source of foreign direct investment in New Zealand, at NZ$57 billion.
Single Economic Market
New Zealand and Australia have committed to creating a seamless trans-Tasman economic environment, making it as easy for New Zealanders to do business in Australia as it is to do business in and around New Zealand. This is known as the Single Economic Market (SEM), and builds on the foundation of the CER Agreement.
CER ministerial discussions
The Australian and New Zealand Trade Ministers hold regular CER/SEM meetings as a forum to oversee the CER and to provide direction for the SEM agenda.
Facts and figures
Australia Population: 25.65 million
Australia GDP: US$1.393 trillion (2019)
Timeline: CER replaced the 1965 New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Talks began in the late 1970s and a new agreement was reached in December 1982. CER came into force in January 1983.
NZ’s major goods exports to Australia (December 2020): dairy (NZ$836 million), beverages (NZ$608 million), cereal preparations (NZ$599 million)
NZ’s major goods imports from Australia (December 2020): machinery (NZ$399 million), electrical machinery (NZ$348 million), misc. food preparations (NZ$331 million).
- all tariffs and quotas were eliminated by 1990, five years ahead of the CER schedule
- most goods that can be legally sold in one country can also be legally sold in the other
- the 1989 Trade in Services Protocol (external link)allows for most services to be traded across the Tasman free of restriction
- the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) (external link)allows for anyone who is registered to practice an occupation in one country to practice in the other
- New Zealanders and Australians are free to visit, live and work in each other’s country under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.
- it is easier to invest in each other’s countries under the March 2013 Investment Protocol(external link)[PDF, 88 KB]
- lower compliance costs for food exporters and more consumer choice under the 1995 Food Standards Treaty (external link)which created common rules for food standards
- lower withholding taxes on certain payments made between New Zealand and Australia, through the Double Taxation Agreement(external link)
Businesses trading in goods
All goods which meet CER Rules of Origin can be traded free of tariffs between New Zealand and Australia.
New Zealand has a second FTA with Australia – AANZFTA – which is between New Zealand, Australia and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). In most instances you’ll be better off using the CER to export goods to Australia.
Service sector businesses
The 1988 CER Protocol on Trade in Services(external link) achieved free trade in nearly all services, allowing New Zealand and Australian service provider’s comprehensive access to each other’s market. The Protocol contains some exclusions (areas where full access is not provided), which are regularly reviewed and have been substantially reduced over time.
Australia has the following exclusions:
- Broadcasting and television (shortwave and satellite broadcasting)
- Compulsory third-party motor vehicle insurance
- Specified postal services
- Coastal shipping cabotage policy
New Zealand has the following exclusions:
- Air services
- Coastal shipping
The 2013 CER Investment Protocol is an ambitious investment agreement, and maintains CER’s status as one of the world’s most comprehensive free trade agreements. The Protocol reduces compliance costs and provides greater legal certainty for trans-Tasman investors by providing higher thresholds at which foreign investments are screened.
Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum
The Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) is a business-led initiative designed to bring business and government together to help both countries prosper. The ANZLF brings together Ministers and leaders of business, government and academia to create an independent public platform for discussing the Australia New Zealand relationship. Launched in 2004, the thirteenth ANZLF was held in Auckland in September 2019.
The ANZLF provides a vehicle for direct business input into the trans-Tasman Single Economic Market agenda. The ANZLF has been influential contributor to the trans-Tasman agenda, particularly in the economic space, such as supporting the acceleration of the SEM initiative, encouraging a focus on new areas such as the indigenous business and the future of work. It has a New Zealand Co-Chair (currently Greg Lowe, CEO of BECA) and an Australian Co-Chair (Ann Sherry AO, Chair, UNICEF Australia and ENERO). The ANZLF has working groups that have been championing and shaping the agenda across five sectors: health technology, indigenous business, infrastructure, innovation and tourism. The Tourism Sector Group led the ANZLF Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group which made recommendations to the two governments in June 2020 on how to safely resume bilateral air travel without quarantine in the wake of COVID19. The ANZLF Emerging Leaders Group was launched in September 2019.
Media and resources
Tariff schedules in HS2017
HS2017 Customs Tariff Revisions - Australia
CER Investment Protocol
- Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship Investment Protocol factsheet [PDF 478 KB]
- Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship (CER) National Interest Analysis [PDF 517 KB]
- CER investment protocol 16 2 11 [PDF 88 KB]
- CER investment protocol australia schedules [PDF 123 KB]
- CER investment protocol australian ncms side letter [PDF 17 KB]
- CER investment protocol MFN side letter [PDF 15 KB]
- CER investment protocol nz NZ schedules 16 2 11 [PDF 143 KB]
- CER investment protocol water side letter [PDF 16 KB]
Regulatory environment for businesses
Memorandum of Understanding on the Coordination of Business Law(external link) (Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment)
Joint Food Standards Agreement(external link) (NZ Food Safety Authority)
Double Tax Agreement(external link) (Inland Revenue)