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Exports to China

New Zealand has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the People’s Republic of China that allows goods of New Zealand origin to enter China at preferential (lower) duty rates. Under the terms of the agreement, duty rates will reduce to zero on most New Zealand goods exported to China by 2019.

For your customers in China to get access to the preferential rates of duty you must provide them with a certificate of origin that meets FTA requirements, and comply with certain other terms of the agreement.

This page provides a basic guide to exporting requirements under the FTA, full terms of the agreement and supporting information can be found on the MFAT website.

Certification of New Zealand Origin

A Certificate of Origin (PDF 276 KB) is designed to give assurance to the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (China Customs) that the goods it relates to are produced or manufactured in New Zealand and comply with the rules of origin set out in the FTA.

Certificates of origin must be in the required format and are only available from organisations that have been designated by the New Zealand Customs Service as certifying bodies for the FTA.

Other requirements

The FTA includes a direct consignment rule in addition to the certificate of origin requirement.

For New Zealand origin goods to be entitled to preferential duty rates in China they must be consigned directly from New Zealand to China and not enter the commerce of another country. Transit through third countries for logistical reasons is permitted, but China Customs requires the following conditions to be met:

  • Goods that transit through third countries should not undergo any other operation in that country other than treatment necessary to keep them in good condition
  • If the goods are being stored in transit in a third country, they should stay under the administration and supervision of Customs and not be stored for longer than six months
  • If the goods transit a third country, China Customs may request relevant documents to confirm that the goods still meet the rules of origin. These documents include:
    • commercial documents, such as the commercial invoice and a through bill of lading if the
    • goods transit through either Hong Kong or Macau, the importer should supply to China Customs documents issued by the China Inspection Company Limited (Hong Kong) or CCIC Macau Company

If those relevant documents are not provided, China Customs may conduct an inspection of the container. Exporters who are unable to provide relevant documents should aim to ensure that the seal of the container is intact, and the seal numbers and container numbers match the information on associated documents, such as the bill of lading and certificate of origin.

Further information is available on:

Facilitation measures

Advance rulings on origin

Advance rulings on origin for New Zealand goods are available from China Customs. These rulings are valid for three years and mean the shipment only has to be accompanied by a declaration of origin completed by the exporter, rather than a certificate of origin. Advance rulings may be applied for by the importer into China or the New Zealand exporter; New Zealand exporters interested in advance rulings should familiarise themselves with article 52 of the agreement which sets out timeframes and conditions for advance rulings.

Declaration of Origin

For shipments that have a customs value under US$1000 or its equivalent in Chinese currency, a declaration of origin may be used instead of a certificate of origin. Please see Appendix 3 for the wording and format required for the declaration.

This can also be used in situations where an advance ruling applies to the goods. In such cases, the reference number of the advance ruling must be inserted into the declaration of origin.

Release of Imported Goods

China Customs has agreed to release New Zealand origin goods within 48 hours of arrival unless:

  • the importer fails to provide any information required by China Customs at the time of first entry
  • the goods are selected for closer examination by China Customs through the application of risk management techniques
  • the goods are to be examined by any agency, other than China Customs, acting under powers conferred by the domestic legislation of China; or
  • fulfilment of all necessary customs formalities has not been able to be completed or release is otherwise delayed by virtue of events outside the control of China Customs.

Certification Bodies

Auckland Business Chamber
PO Box 47, Auckland 1140
Tel: 09 309 610
Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 359, Christchurch 8140
Tel: 03 366 5096
Trade Window Origin Limited
10 Bisley Road, Enderley, Hamilton 3214
0800 119 624 | Tel: 09 836 4200

New Zealand Chambers of Commerce Inc.
PO Box 47, Auckland 1140
Contact: Michael Barnett
Tel: 09 302 9916

Otago Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 5713, Dunedin 9058
Tel:03 479 0181
WiseTech Global Limited
PO Box 76029, Manukau City
Phone: 09 271 6993

Wellington Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 1590, Wellington 6140
Tel: 04 473 7224