Trade Knowledge Exchange > Knowledge > New Zealand & Trade: A Brief Overview

New Zealand & Trade: A Brief Overview

International trade comprises approximately 60% of New Zealand’s total economic activity, and as such, over the past two decades New Zealand has pursued a trade policy to lower barriers to trade. In keeping with this, New Zealand’s tariffs are low. The average MFN applied tariff is 2%, with clothing exceeding the average by the greatest margin, with an average tariff of 9.7%.

The greatest value of exports from New Zealand goes to China (for agricultural products) and Australia (for non-agricultural products). The UK has maintained a negative balance of payments with New Zealand for at least the past two decades. In 2015 the value of this was negative £247m, comprising a trade deficit of £319m in goods, slightly offset by a positive balance of payments of £72m in services.

The greatest import of goods by value from New Zealand in 2016 was meat and meat preparations (£291m) primarily sheep and goat meat (36% of total imports from NZ), followed by alcoholic beverages (£222m), almost entirely comprised of wine (23% of total imports from NZ). The greatest export of goods destined for New Zealand from the UK in 2016 was road vehicles (£248m).

New Zealand is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement between 12 countries signed in 2016 in Auckland, NZ, but yet to be ratified.

About the Author

Victoria Mears


Victoria Mears works for Montenero Consulting, which is working with the TKE partners to develop the Trade Knowledge Exchange.
Victoria has a Masters in Environment & Development from LSE, and a Bachelor's Degree in Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Oxford.