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Brexit

On 1 January 2021, the UK left the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market, ending the free movement of goods, people and services between the two regions.


A Trade and Co-operation agreement (a deal) was reached between the EU and the UK, which came into effect on 01 January 2021. The agreement between the UK and EU provides for zero quotas and zero tariffs on the export of goods produced in the UK and EU, as long as the goods comply with rules of origin (ROO) requirements.

There is now a border between Great Britain (GB) and the EU, with exports and imports facing customs and regulatory controls. There is added complexity when supply chains go through Northern Ireland.

The new trade environment

From 1 January 2021, there will be some changes to the way New Zealand trades with the UK, as well as how New Zealand businesses trade between the UK and EU.

  • Trade from NZ directly to the UK in terms of Customs requirements is largely unchanged, aside from change to the UK Global Tariff and some added complexity for NZ trade going through Northern Ireland.

There may be some exceptions to this, including changes in VAT for low value consignments and the application of the new UK tariff schedule. More information is available on NZTE’s website, Brexit – what does the EU-UK trade deal mean for NZ companies

  • Trade from NZ to EU remains unchanged. The same EU Customs and regulatory checks (border controls) and tariff continues to apply.  
  • Trade between the UK and EU has changed. The UK is treated as a ‘third country’ from a customs perspective, which means exports between the EU and the UK will require customs and regulatory controls and formalities to be carried out. This may impact on NZ businesses which trade between UK and EU, particularly in relation to Rules of Origin.

New Zealand Customs - including our Counsellors based in London and Brussels - continue to work closely with the UK Border Agencies, and equivalents at the European Commission and EU members, to support New Zealand trade and monitor Brexit-related trade developments.

Customs agreements

We have a Customs agreement in place with the UK. It is similar to the current Customs agreement we have in place with the EU, and is a necessary first step towards agreeing a mutually recognised secure trade scheme between New Zealand and the UK.

The EU–New Zealand Customs agreement is not affected by Brexit.

Information for exporters

There are a number of things that NZ businesses can do to help them adjust to Brexit:

  • Ensure you check the tariff rate for their goods into the UK - look at the UK’s online tariff finder.
  • Exporters that trade between the UK and EU should check their supply chains for any impacts including:
  • Understanding border and documentation requirements for trading between the UK and EU. This includes Rules of Origin, tariff implications and opportunities to utilise special Customs procedures – working with your customer, distributor, broker or forwarder.
  • Check with your forwarder or broker on shipping routes and understand any transit or trans-shipment requirements.
  • Check if your customer or forwarder is an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) – this may have benefits in facilitating your exports arriving in the UK.
  • The European Commission has launched an online hub enabling small businesses to check the requirements for imports and exports out of the EU. The free service, Access2Markets, provides details on topics including tariffs, food safety requirements and rules of origin, as well as information on 124 foreign markets.

Contact us

If you are a New Zealand business and concerned about the impact on Brexit on your exports to the UK or EU, or have Customs-related questions on Brexit, please email us: brexit@customs.govt.nz 

Further information

Further information is also available via the website links below:

You can also keep up to date with the latest Brexit information on these international websites: