Steps to exporting agricultural chemicals

Exporters of agricultural chemicals for plants must meet the requirements of their destination country. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Expand All
What you need to know

An overview of exporting agricultural chemicals from start to finish.

What agricultural chemicals include

Agricultural chemical products are used to manage the health and productivity of plants. These products are defined under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act as agricultural compounds. Depending on the product's ingredients or claims made about its use, it may need to be registered.

Types of agricultural chemical 

Agricultural chemicals are used on plants to control pests or change a plant's productivity. Products include:

  • herbicides, fungicides, insecticides
  • plant growth regulators
  • surfactants and adjuvants (substances added to improve the effectiveness of sprays).

They don't include chemical products not listed in the ACVM Act, like public health insecticides, household fly sprays, or herbicides used in industrial settings where plants and animals are not being managed.

To export agricultural chemicals successfully you need to know about:

  • the regulation requirements of the destination country
  • the ingredients in your product
  • the manufacturing, packaging or repackaging,  and labelling requirements of the destination country
  • how to get your product registered, if required
  • keeping adequate records
  • certificates of compliance, if required
  • certificates of free sale, if required
  • fees and charges.

You may have to meet other requirements as well. These requirements might be commercial, or set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service.

Manufacturing agricultural chemicals for export?

If you're manufacturing agricultural chemicals for export, you also need to:

  • meet trade agreements if exporting to Australia, Canada, the European Union, or Switzerland
  • meet the manufacturing requirements of the destination country.
What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Check the regulatory requirements of your destination country

Destination countries have their own regulations for imported agricultural chemicals. You can find out the regulatory requirements either from your import agent, or by contacting MPI's equivalent regulatory authority in your destination country. You may be asked to supply a list of ingredients.

The requirements may state that you need 'official assurance' (for example, a certificate or documentation) from MPI confirming that your product complies with requirements for the safe manufacture, product testing, or labelling of products.

Get certification for your product, if required

If your destination country requires you to have official assurance for your product, MPI can issue several types of certificate of compliance, providing the requirements and conditions are met.

You can request a certificate by sending an email to Fees will apply.

Check the registration status of your product, if required 

Agricultural chemicals on the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) register have been assessed for the risks specified in the ACVM Act. These are risks to:

  • public health
  • trade in primary produce
  • animal welfare
  • agricultural security.

Products are also assessed to ensure their use will not breach New Zealand food residue standards.

If your destination country needs to know whether your product is registered in New Zealand, you can search the ACVM register to find out.

Find out if your product is exempt from registration

Some agricultural chemicals may be exempt from registration – if the product poses little risk, provided that the products are manufactured and used properly. Examples of exempt products include:

  • pH buffers, drift retardants
  • animal repellents or attractants applied directly to plants
  • anti-transpirants.

A complete list of exempted product types and conditions is listed in Schedule 2 of the ACVM Regulations:

Ask MPI if you're unsure

If you're unsure whether your product must be registered or whether it is exempt from registration, you can request MPI to determine this for you.  Fees apply for MPI's class determination service.

Download the form to request a class determination [DOCX, 341 KB]

Read the guidelines for class determination requests [PDF, 226 KB]

Register your product, if it's not exempt

If your product is not exempt from registration, you will need to get it registered. 

Download information about ACVM registration requirements [PDF, 90 KB]

Related information

Read the definition of an agricultural chemical

Manufacturing and exporting agricultural chemicals to Australia, Canada, the European Union, and Switzerland

New Zealand has trade agreements, called Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), with the following countries: Australia, Canada, the European Union, and Switzerland.

The MRA specifies the quality assurances that will be accepted by both countries and allows mutual recognition of certification.

If you're manufacturing agricultural chemicals for export to these countries, you must supply a batch certificate for your consignment.

Getting your import documentation

How you know you've met MPI requirements

If you requested documentation or certification from MPI, then a paper copy signed by MPI will be posted to you.

Before you send your export product, check that you have met the importing requirements of your destination country, returned all the correct documentation, and paid any fees.

When to alert MPI

As an exporter you're responsible for telling MPI within 24 hours if your agricultural chemicals for export:

  • become unfit for their intended purpose
  • don't have the required export documents – for example, if they have been removed or lost. 

Who to contact

If you have any questions about exporting agricultural chemicals, email

Last reviewed: