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Streamlining trade with Thailand

09.30am 30 May 2023 | News

Trade between New Zealand and Thailand is set to become easier, bringing advantages to traders between the two economies, thanks to a new Customs arrangement signed yesterday (29 May 2023).

Christine Stevenson, Comptroller and Chief Executive of the New Zealand Customs Service, and Patchara Anuntasilpa, Director General of Customs Department Thailand, signed the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA), at the World Customs Organization regional heads meeting being held in Perth, Australia, this week.

The arrangement recognises the Customs supply chain security standards of both countries and promotes market access for exporters between them.

Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia and New Zealand’s tenth largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth $4.4 billion for the year ended June 2022. Many products are exported to Thailand tariff-free. This arrangement strengthens this well-established trading relationship by fast-tracking high-security exporters.

Comptroller Christine Stevenson welcomed the formalisation of close relations with Thai Customs officials, saying this will ensure many benefits to our trusted traders.

“Our respective Customs agencies now have assurance that goods from accredited traders meet high standards of supply chain security. This will mean fewer checks of their shipments as they pass through both borders, helping their goods get to market faster.”

“Speeding up exports gives kiwi businesses a competitive edge, and both Customs agencies can focus our efforts on working to identify bigger risks across our borders,” she said.

Patchara Anuntasilpa, Director-General of the Customs Department of the Kingdom of Thailand, said “This marks a significant milestone for Thailand and New Zealand toward enhancing international supply chain security and facilitating trade between two Customs Administrations.

“The established mutual standard will encourage relevant business operators from both countries to benefit from faster and more efficient customs procedures which will ultimately result in their stronger competitiveness and easier access to global market.”

MRAs enable accredited businesses in signatory territories to operate under Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) partnership programmes.

New Zealand’s programme has 142 export businesses, representing about 65 percent of New Zealand’s export trade to MRA territories, and 50 percent of all exports.

New Zealand has Mutual Recognition Arrangements with Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and United States of America.

More information about Mutual Recognition Arrangements is available from