General importing requirements

Importers are responsible for helping keep New Zealand pest-free and ensuring any food they import is safe to eat. They also have a role in deterring the trade in illegal wild fauna and flora, and forced and compulsory labour in global supply chains. Find out more about importer responsibilities.

Deterring trade in illegal wild fauna and flora, and forced and compulsory labour

The international trade in wild species is estimated to be is estimated to be worth billions of dollars. It can include anything from live animals and plants, to animal and plant products like food, exotic leather goods, wooden items, and medicines. Laws and regulations exist to ensure the sustainability of traded products in order to protect these resources for future generations. Importers are encouraged to check that product were obtained legally in the country of origin.

Find out how importers can ensure that their products were legally obtained and traded

Forced or compulsory labour is a major issue in the global economy. Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide. Forced labour should not be a part of supply chains, and businesses in New Zealand can play a key role in reducing the demand for products and services derived from forced or compulsory labour.

Find out what businesses can do to help combat forced or compulsory labour

Biosecurity requirements

Importers must meet the biosecurity requirements in import health standards to import plants and plant products, animals and animal products, and other commodities that may carry organisms, like sea containers and personal effects. If there is no import health standard, you will not usually be able to import the product. Import health standards explain what importers must do if they are bringing in:

  • plants and plant products
  • animals and animal products
  • other commodities, like containers and personal effects.

MPI has created step-by-step guides for importers based on the type of product they're importing. These guides give more detail about what you need to do to successfully import your product, commodity, or animal.

Food importers must register

Alongside biosecurity requirements, if you're importing food, you must register with MPI as a food importer.

All imports must be cleared by Customs

All commercially imported goods must be cleared through New Zealand Customs Service, so importers need to register with Customs and submit an import entry or electronic cargo information (ECI).

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