Trade regulatory system

This page describes the trade regulatory system administered by MBIE, and its objectives. It also lists the main statutes and proposed regulatory changes.

System description and objectives

System description

This system regulates aspects of New Zealand’s trade and sets out the rules for its administration. The aspects covered here are:

  • trade remedies
  • tariffs
  • restriction of trade in dangerous and hazardous goods.

Objectives

Trade remedies

The trade remedies system in New Zealand exists to ensure that import competition is fair to New Zealand manufacturers. Where dumping and subsidisation of goods imported to New Zealand injures New Zealand producers, duties can be imposed to remedy the situation.

These duties can only be imposed after a formal investigation under the trade remedies framework. The framework comprises the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Act 1988 and the Trade (Safeguard Measures) Act 2014, which are administered by MBIE. These statutes incorporate New Zealand’s international obligations under the World Trade Organisation Agreements for carrying out trade remedies investigations and imposing duties.

Tariffs

Tariffs are a tax charged on imported goods. They are a means to protect parts of industry in New Zealand and raise revenue for the Government.

MBIE is responsible for developing tariff policy and administering the related legislation, the Tariff Act 1988. Responsibilities include:

  • considering other tariff issues, eg how government policies might impact tariffs and vice versa, and industry and economic points of view on the impact of tariffs

Restricting trade in dangerous and hazardous goods

MBIE is responsible for the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Act 1988. The purpose of this Act is to restrict the import and export of particular goods, such as dangerous goods or hazardous waste, and to uphold our international obligations in this area, which are mainly established in United Nations conventions, including:

Ministerial portfolio and key statutes

Portfolio Key statutes

Commerce and Consumer Affairs(external link)

  • Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Act 1988
  • Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Act 1988
  • Tariff Act 1988
  • Trade (Safeguard Measures) Act 2014

Regulatory agencies and their roles

Agency Role
MBIE Advises the Minister for Commence and Consumer Affairs about the administration of the different parts of the trade regulatory system described here.

Undertakes trade remedies investigations.

Develops tariff policy.
NZ Customs Service(external link) Inspects traded goods, ensuring they are correctly classified and collecting duties and tariffs.
Ministry for the Environment(external link) Determines what goods are dangerous or hazardous.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)(external link) Issues permits for the import and export of dangerous and hazardous goods.

Collaboration and information-sharing between regulatory agencies

Trade remedies

MBIE has a memorandum of understanding with the NZ Customs Service for information-sharing on import statistics and invoices to provide data for trade remedies investigations. When duties are imposed as a result of an investigation into dumping, subsidies or increased import volumes, MBIE also provides instructions to Customs regarding the scope of that duty, including the scope and description of the subject goods, the amount of the duty, and how to calculate the duty.

Restricting trade in dangerous and hazardous goods

MBIE works with other government agencies, in particular the Ministry for the Environment and the Environmental Protection Authority, to update and maintain the system when new dangerous or hazardous goods are identified.

Regulated parties and main stakeholders

The key regulated parties under the trade regulatory system described here are the same as for New Zealand’s wider trade system: importers and exporters of goods. There are a number of additional key stakeholders of this system, namely:

  • Domestic industry
  • Foreign exporters
  • Foreign manufacturers of goods
  • Foreign governments
  • New Zealand consumers, through pricing and market competition.

In addition, the New Zealand Government can be considered a stakeholder, since tariffs are a source of Government revenue which supports the Government’s public spending in the Budget.

Processes for engagement with regulated parties and stakeholders

Trade remedies

The trade remedies system has comprehensive processes in place for engaging with regulated parties and stakeholders. The World Trade Organization Agreements on anti-dumping and countervailing duties and the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Act 1988 prescribe minimum standards of consultation and notification for interested parties required throughout the investigation process. The legal framework prescribes periods required to allow interested parties to comment on Issues Papers and reports outlining the essential facts and conclusions for anti-dumping and subsidy determinations. The investigatory process under this framework also sets out procedures for obtaining information for investigational purposes with the cooperation of interested parties themselves, especially importers, exporters, foreign governments, and manufacturers.

Tariffs

MBIE often engages with domestic stakeholders, such as industry and consumers, on tariff matters and, in particular, when undertaking reviews of tariff policy which occur every several years.

Restricting trade in dangerous and hazardous goods

Engagement with regulated parties and stakeholders on this issue is led by the Ministry for the Environment and the Environmental Protection Authority.

Proposed regulatory changes

Trade remedies

In November 2017, the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Act 1988 came into force, superseding the previous Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties Act 1988. The new Act introduced a bounded public interest test, where MBIE can now investigate whether imposing duties is in the public interest upon the direction of the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

MBIE is developing advice about a possible amendment to the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Act 1988 to provide for the Minister to extend investigative timeframes in limited circumstances. This comes after a judgment of the High Court deeming that timeframes can be extended in exceptional circumstances. Public consultation on the potential regulatory change was undertaken in April-May 2019.

Tariffs

MBIE is continuing to update preferential tariff access for countries as they ratify free trade agreements with New Zealand. This is an ongoing process, and such amendments are made through Orders in Council.

Restriction of trade in dangerous and hazardous goods

No changes to this system are currently proposed.

Planned service and operational changes

No service or operational changes are currently planned.