Coronavirus and the effects on trade

MPI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) are carefully monitoring how the novel coronavirus is affecting New Zealand primary industries and businesses.

Trade impacts from coronavirus 

New Zealand businesses are experiencing major disruptions as a result of COVID-19, including those businesses in offshore markets. Disruptions experienced by our exporters are also having 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. 

The border restrictions that took effect on 16 March 2020 apply to people and not freight. Sea freight routes remain open for both imports and exports, and freight deemed to be essential is also permitted to be moved within New Zealand.

However, 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 also been some improvements in the flow of freight as business activity picks up in China following restrictions being lifted to allow people to return to work.

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

Importing countries' resources impacted by COVID-19 cases

There is ongoing international concern related to reports of ports that have been impacted by 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.

MPI has received reports that some port facilities, particularly in the United States, have significant delays on product being inspected and cleared due to staff illness or staff needing to be quarantined.  Such logistical delays can have major impact on exporters, particularly for shipments that have limited shelf lives.

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

Please report trade concerns to us by emailing or phoning 0800 00 83 33.

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. 

More information at the Beehive website

Immediate export requirements

NZTE is supporting co-ordination 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

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

Last reviewed: