"Haere mai" is Māori for welcome and New Zealand is one of the most open economies in the world. But there are rules and regulations that will apply, and we are familiar with them.

This "Doing Business in NZ" publication is designed to provide the prospective investor with an introductory guide to the New Zealand legal framework as it applies to business. The information provided was accurate at the time of publication, and will be updated regularly. But it should not be relied upon as a basis for making business decisions as circumstances, business conditions, government policy and interpretation of the law may change.

We recommend that you seek advice specific to your needs before making any decisions and will be happy to assist.

New Zealand is a strong advocate for free trade and is signatory to a number of trade treaties.


New Zealand has a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with the People's Republic of China, which came into force on 1 October 2008. One of the most important features is a phased reduction and elimination of tariffs on 96% of New Zealand's exports to China. The FTA contains rules to determine which goods qualify for tariff cuts and measures relating to customs procedures and cooperation, sanitary and phytosanitary provisions and technical barriers to trade. The Agreement also includes a comprehensive investment chapter, providing binding investor-state arbitration at the option of a qualifying investor.


A set of trading agreements, known as CER, or Australia and New Zealand Closer Economic Relations, have been in place since 1983. These are now at a high level of maturity. Full free trade in goods was achieved in July 1990, four years ahead of schedule. Recent expansion of CER has included free trade in services, agreements to free up trade in areas such as aviation, and proposals to address taxation impediments to trade and investment. At present, both governments are actively cooperating on further reforms to increase harmonisation.


In February 2009, New Zealand and Australia entered a free trade agreement with the ten member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), representing a market of over 500 million people. The FTA includes the eventual removal of tariffs on 99% of New Zealand's current exports to the four ASEAN markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. This agreement, which also includes a comprehensive investment chapter, is not yet in force.


New Zealand is also in negotiation with the US through the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement to establish equal free trade bloc. Other negotiating partners are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam.

More information is available at: www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-EconomicRelations.Trade-Agreement

In February 2009, it was announced that New Zealand was entering FTA discussions with India. New Zealand is also actively seeking FTA discussions with South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan.

Information on New Zealand's international trading agreements can be found in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website www.mfat.govt.nz

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided but it should not be relied upon as a basis for making business decisions as circumstances, business conditions, government policy and interpretation of the law may change.

The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.