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This includes negotiating and implementing free trade agreements, representing New Zealand in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and influencing the rules other governments apply to trade. We can also give exporters practical help and advice through its network of 58 diplomatic missions in 51 countries.
We work closely with other government agencies, including New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Tourism, Education, Customs, Primary Industries, Immigration, Transport, IRD, Defence and Police, to support exporters.
Help with red tape and trade barriers
Foreign governments may impose policies that hinder New Zealand exports getting through or unfairly penalise them. Examples might be new border biosecurity rules, illegal quotas, disputes over paperwork, taxes and compliance issues that can be costly or impossible for individual companies to tackle.
If you’re facing such restrictions, we can use our authority, relationships and legal frameworks, including the WTO, to try to negotiate a better outcome. Read about how we help settle trade disputes.
Barriers to exports are not just offshore. Sometimes there are impediments to exporting that need to be resolved within New Zealand, such as delays in certifying a product before it can be exported. In this instance, a solution might involve creating a new standard or certification process that is recognised by foreign governments.
Read Government services for exporters to find out which agency may be able to assist you, or tell us so we can work with other New Zealand government agencies to address them.
Tell us about trade barriers that you are facing using this submission form(external link).
Negotiating trade agreements
We negotiate FTAs to make sure trading in overseas markets is straightforward, certain and predictable, and that exporting is easier and more profitable.
FTAs provide direct benefits to business by:
- improving access to overseas markets
- removing obstacles to trade (such as tariffs, quotas and regulatory barriers)
- providing greater certainty and lower costs for entering new markets.
There are also indirect benefits such as greater business confidence, market awareness, and willingness to trade. The result is more business for exporters. For example in 2008 when our FTA with China came into force, merchandise exports were $2.5 billion; by 2014 goods exports had grown to $10 billion (and there were also $1.8 billion of services exports).
MFAT also influences the rules other governments apply to trade by representing New Zealand in the WTO. On a global level, the WTO works to free up international trade.
Make sure you are getting the best value from our FTAs – check out the tariff finder(external link)
Offshore staff with local connections
You’re welcome to contact our staff overseas in embassies and high commissions for help. Depending on your product or service, we can put you in touch with contacts that might help give you get a better understanding of the local market.
We can also help set up meetings, and sometimes we can attend meetings with you.
Both MFAT and NZTE have an extensive range of contacts offshore who can help your business. It’s important you talk to us both as we each have different business, academic, government and expatriate networks. This government support can make a real difference to your potential customers.
If you’re planning to launch a product overseas or run a promotional event, it can be valuable to involve MFAT. An event held at an embassy or high commission, or supported by the ambassador/high commissioner, can help raise your profile and have a greater impact.
Contact overseas staff through the embassy or consulate for the country where you're doing business.
Exporters can contact MFAT for help.
The MFAT Exporter Helpline: 0800 824 605