Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 7/20/2018
The New Zealand economy is very dependent on international trade and tourism.  The United States is New Zealand’s third most important trading partner after China and Australia. (New Zealand has Free Trade Agreements with both China and Australia.) In 2017, New Zealand imports from the U.S. totaled US$4.3 billion and represented 10.6% of New Zealand’s total imports.  U.S. aircraft parts, agricultural machinery, medical and pharmaceutical products are key items sold to New Zealand.

The foundation of New Zealand’s economy is exporting agricultural products such as dairy products, meat, forest products, fruit and vegetables and wine.   Dairy is the lead export commodity. Due to a slump in world commodity prices, in 2017 New Zealand tourism was more important to the economy than dairy.  In 2017, New Zealand exports to the U.S. totaled US$3.8 billion (or approximately 10% of New Zealand’s total exports).

In September 2017, a new Coalition Government was elected led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Uncertainty about some of the new government’s policies (e.g. the Government’s announcement it will not be issuing any additional permits for offshore drilling), has had a dip on business confidence, but overall the economy is in good shape.
Fluctuations in the NZ/US exchange rate can impact on New Zealand dollar export receipts. Exchange rate:  1 NZ$ = 70 U.S. cents (as of June 2018).

The top five reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to New Zealand are:
  • New Zealand  ranked #1 by the World Bank in 2018 as the easiest country in the world to do business.
  • New Zealand offers a stable democracy
  • New Zealand businesses consistently rank highly for honesty and integrity
  • New Zealand business practices are similar to those in the United States
  • New Zealand’s market size is ideal for New-To-Export companies and for testing New-To-Market products.  

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

New Zealand Trade Development and Promotion