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.