COVID-19 and the effects on trade

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) continue to monitor how COVID-19 is affecting New Zealand primary industries and businesses.

Trade impacts from COVID-19

New Zealand businesses have experienced major disruptions as a result of COVID-19, including those businesses in offshore markets. Disruptions experienced by our exporters have had flow-on effects to the domestic economy.

There are no formal restrictions on market access for the vast majority of goods exports and imports as a result of COVID-19 but the global pandemic continues to place pressure on global supply chains and is disrupting trade flows and the wider international economy. 

Primary industry exporters continue to experience a level of disruption to their trade in a number of markets due to issues related to delays in ports and the wider global transport network.

There have been some improvements in the flow of freight as restrictions begin to be lifted and business activity picks up.

MPI, MFAT, and NZTE are continuously monitoring developments to look for ways we can provide support to our exporters during this unprecedented event.

Support letter from MPI for exporters

MPI has issued a letter about COVID-19 controls in New Zealand that exporters can use if needed.

Food and primary product safety in New Zealand and COVID-19 [PDF, 261 KB]

Importing countries' resources impacted by COVID-19 cases

There is ongoing international concern related to reports of ports that have been impacted by logistical delays such as reduced storage and inspection facilities due to the impact of COVID-19. Disrupted courier services are also causing problems for exporters where consignments are diverted to other ports for disembarkation and the documentation needs to be replaced. While the lifting of restrictions may alleviate this, the situation remains uncertain and may change quickly.

MPI recommends that exporters stay in close contact with importers when planning and tracking exports as they will have the most up-to-date information on any logistical issues in the region.

MPI is continually looking for ways we can work with our overseas counterparts to facilitate the clearance of New Zealand products into export markets that are experiencing COVID-19 related difficulties. Our work has included setting up or progressing processes for paperless certification and making arrangements to expedite clearances with our trading partners.

Report trade concerns to us:

Support for airfreight services

Flight cancellations by airlines are affecting airfreight shipments.  The Government has set aside $600 million for the aviation sector to ensure New Zealand’s key airfreight services remain open for critical imports and exports, including food. 

Media release on keeping air freight moving – NZ Government

Immediate export requirements

NZTE is supporting the coordination of some additional flights to deliver freight capacity. Exporters and freight forwarders interested in using this capacity should visit the NZTE website for up to date information on the initiative. 

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

Trade credit support for exporters

The Treasury's New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC) may be able to provide support for exporters experiencing difficulties resulting from COVID-19. Trade credit insurance protects a business from losses arising from unpaid invoices, including as a result of a buyer’s bankruptcy. NZEC's ‘top-up cover’ arrangements provides additional cover to ensure that New Zealand exporters and their integral domestic suppliers can trade with confidence.

New Zealand Export Credit – The Treasury

Find out more

Latest information on exporting to China, including contact details to get help with your export queries, are on New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's (NZTE's) website.

NZTE has also established an advisory panel to talk directly with businesses who require specialist advice or who are facing severe business disruption.

Information on exporting – NZTE

Contact information for MPI's Exporter Regulatory Advice Service

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