Barriers to Trade

Barriers to Trade

Barriers to trade can take two forms. Tariff Barriers – the duties you pay at the border for your goods to enter a country and Non-Tariff Barrriers that cover everything else.

Tariff barriers

Reductions in tariffs are usually negotiated through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Check if reductions apply to your exports as a result of the FTAs that New Zealand has negotiated to ensure you are not paying too much.

Go to:

Non-tariff barriers 

Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) are rules that make it costly or difficult to export to a particular market. You might experience these as ‘red tape, ‘roadblocks’ or ‘costs of doing business’.

NTBs can impact all types of businesses, including food and beverage, services and digital exporters. Examples include administrative procedures, quantity restrictions (such as quotas), price controls, subsidies, product labelling requirements, private standards, and phytosanitary or technical regulations and standards.

New Zealand Government agencies can help to reduce, resolve or even prevent these barriers from arising, through government-to-government discussions – instance, between customs or food safety agencies – or through longer-term free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Some NTBs can be cleared up quickly, but others can take years to resolve, depending on their nature and the willingness of foreign partner to sort them out. Some may never be resolved, for reasons beyond New Zealand’s control.

Where NTBs exist for good reasons – such as regulations to protect public health or the environment – foreign governments may agree to accept New Zealand’s regulations as equivalent, or improve their regulations so they meet their purpose without impeding free trade.

Who to talk to about non-tariff barriers 

Education services

If you export education services and need help with non-tariff barriers, contact Education New Zealand.

Email |  [email protected]

Website |  Education New Zealand (external link)

Services and investment

If you encounter a non-tariff barrier that’s unfairly preventing you from exporting your services offshore, get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) for assistance.

Phone | MFAT Exporter helpline 0800 824 605
Email | [email protected]
Website | MFAT


If you’re a manufacturer, and you’re facing unjustified standards, regulations, rules in selling to foreign governments, or other restrictions blocking you from exporting, contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Email |   [email protected]

Food and primary industries

If you’re facing non-tariff barriers for your food or primary sector exports – for food safety and standards or animal welfare – contact the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Phone | 0800 00 83 33

Email | [email protected]
Website | MPI: Exporting (external link)

Other inquiries

If you’re facing other trade barriers not covered above, or aren’t sure where to go next, you can find more information and register your barrier  online at

Other assistance

Customs can help with advice on a range of export issues including border clearance issues, tariff classification, and rules of origin. Contact New Zealand Customs

Email |  [email protected]

27 Mar, 2018

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