New Zealand flag New Zealand: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of New Zealand

Foreign Trade in Figures

Foreign trade is an essential element of New Zealand's economy, which is one of the most open economies in the world. Trade represented 44.3% of GDP in 2020. In 2021, the main export goods of the country were milk and dairy products (27% of all exports), meat (14%), wood (7.5%), fruits (6.6%), while the main imported commodities include Machinery and boilers (14%), cars and other vehicles other than railway and tramway (11%), Electrical and electronic equipment (9.3%) and mineral fuels, oils, distillation products (8.5%).

New Zealand's biggest partners are China (29% of all exports in 2020), Australia (14%), the United States (12%), Japan, and South Korea. China was also the main supplier of goods and services of the country (23% of all imports in 2020).The country is a founding member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). A Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) - the world’s largest trade agreement - was also signed in 2020 which includes 7 of New Zealand top 10 trading partners and 16 countries in total: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, and could eventually replace the CPTPP.  Additionally, the government is currently seeking trade deals with the EU and the UK.

Exports in New Zealand rose 13% year-on-year to a record high of 6.1 billion NZD in December 2021, boosted by sales of dairy products (Statistics New Zealand, 2022). In 2020, merchandise exports slightly decreased at USD 38.91 billion, and imports decreased from 42.3 billion USD in 2019 to 37.15 billion USD. The trade balance (excluding services) reached + 2 billion USD from a deficit of 2.41 billion USD in 2019.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 36,06740,12543,79342,36337,152
Exports of Goods (million USD) 33,69938,07539,67339,51738,919
Imports of Services (million USD) 11,96712,80414,82015,50311,100
Exports of Services (million USD) 14,88615,99717,52717,23611,580

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 52.353.955.554.1n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,881-1,503-3,523-2,4152,004
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 1,3791,817-678-5912,569
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.27.23.91.0n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.63.62.8-0.2n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 25.826.627.927.1n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 26.527.327.627.0n/a

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -2.17.211.56.63.4
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 6.66.79.33.16.0

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
New Zealand has signed a free trade agreement (CEPA) with Hong Kong.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
China 27.8%
Australia 13.6%
United States 11.0%
Japan 5.9%
South Korea 2.9%
See More Countries 38.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 22.6%
Australia 12.1%
United States 9.7%
Japan 5.7%
South Korea 4.9%
See More Countries 45.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

38.9 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added...Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter 15.0%
Meat of sheep or goats, fresh, chilled or frozenMeat of sheep or goats, fresh, chilled or frozen 6.5%
Meat of bovine animals, frozenMeat of bovine animals, frozen 5.4%
Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark...Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood, or roughly squared (excl. rough-cut wood for walking sticks, umbrellas, tool shafts and the like; wood in the form of railway sleepers; wood cut into boards or beams, etc.) 5.1%
Butter, incl. dehydrated butter and ghee, and...Butter, incl. dehydrated butter and ghee, and other fats and oils derived from milk; dairy spreads 4.9%
See More Products 63.0%
37.1 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 6.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 4.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.0%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.9%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.6%
See More Products 79.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: September 2022

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