Importing from China to New Zealand: A Complete Guide

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Importing from China to New Zealand

Thinking about importing goods all the way from China to New Zealand but don’t know how to start? In this article, you will learn about the importing process from China to New Zealand:

    • New Zealand Product Safety Standards
    • Labeling Requirements
    • Import Taxes
    • Import Licenses and Permits
    • Selling on Amazon from New Zealand

New Zealand Product Safety Standards

New Zealand’s product standards are generally the same as in Australia. The product regulations cover everything from baby & nursery products, clothing, health & cosmetics to tobacco & smoking accessories.

Before importing any goods to New Zealand, it is crucial to note that the buyer has the sole responsibility to ensure the product is compliant with all the mandatory safety standards, regulatory requirements and compliance procedures in New Zealand.

If you have imported goods that are not compliant, which is an offense, it can result in penalties or the destruction if your products.

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  • 1. Product design and material selection
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  • 4. Quality control, lab testing & shipping


Therefore, you must follow the essential requirements below:

1. Product safety standards (NZS standards)

2. Substance Restrictions (e.g. chemicals and heavy metals)

3. Labeling Requirements

4. Documentation Requirements

If you find it hard to research for the mandatory safety regulations, you can always access them on Government websites for explicit guidance.

1. The procedure of checking compliance document is based on current documents of the product, such as product documents and test reports. Nevertheless, it can be challenging as Chinese manufacturers might not be able to make sure that the product is compliant with New Zealand ’s product standards.

2. But what is more likely to be the norm is that most of the Chinese suppliers are able to provide compliance documents such as EU or US test reports. It’s very rare that suppliers in China, and elsewhere in Asia, can provide AS/NZS related test reports.

That said, AS/NZS standards are generally similar to corresponding EN and ASTM standards in the EU and US respectively.

3. You can also access information about product standards on the New Zealand Commerce Commission.

Here are a few examples of regulated products

  • Baby walkers
  • Children’s nightwear
  • Children’s crayons
  • Children’s finger paints
  • Children’s watercolor paints
  • Children’s toys
  • Cigarette Lighters
  • Household cots
  • Pedal bicycles
  • Electronics
  • Rubber and plastic hot water bottles


If you intend to import rubber and plastic hot water bottles, you need to provide a test report stating the products comply with the BS 1970:2001 or BS 1970:2006 “Hot water bottles manufactured from rubber and PVC” specification.

Labeling Requirements for Importers

It is essential for importers in New Zealand to make sure that the label requirements are accurate, this includes both the product and its packaging. Below is a list of different kinds of Labeling Requirements for New Zealander importers to keep track of:

a. AS/NZS Labeling Requirements

b. Ingredients Labelling (mandatory for cosmetics and food)

c. Country of Origin (Required for food products and imported goods that require a ‘trade description’)

d. Care Labeling (for apparel and other textiles)

Before importing different products, make sure to check the specific labeling requirement that is applicable for each category, since every product category has its own distinctive labeling requirements.

Please remember that the buyer always has full responsibility to provide the correct labeling files and ‘ready-made’ artwork for suppliers.

Import Taxes and Fees

Below follows an overview of import duties, GST and other fees when importing from China to New Zealand.

a. Customs Value

You’ll pay import duties calculated based on the customs value. The Customs Value is calculated on the Free On Board (FOB) price, which includes the following:

  • Transportation to the Port of Loading (i.e., Shenzhen or Hong Kong)
  • Unit Price
  • Export Clearance cost

The customs value does not include the following:

  • Shipping to New Zealand
  • Transportation within New Zealand
  • Shipping Insurance

b. Import Duties

When importing items to New Zealand, you should be aware that duty and GST may apply. The price you paid or will pay for your importing items are all applicable to import duties. This rule also covers second-hand goods.

The NZ Customs may combine two or more packages if they arrive at the same time, it will be calculated as one imported shipment for the calculation of duty.

According to the New Zealand Customs Service, the import duties rate based on:

  • Product and material
  • Manufacturing country (e.g. China or Vietnam)
  • Transit country (if not same as the manufacturing country)
  • The duty rate – contained in the Working Tariff Document of New Zealand
  • Applicable Customs concessions

c. Goods and Services Tax (GST)

According to the New Zealand Customs Service, the current GST of New Zealand is 15%. Whether your company is GST registered or not, when you import all kinds of products into New Zealand, it is required to pay Goods and Service Tax (GST).

This also applies to individuals who are importing goods from China and other countries.

GST is calculated based on the following:

  • Product value (the amount you paid to the supplier)
  • Shipping from China to New Zealand
  • Transportation insurance
  • Import duties (if any)

Import duties are calculated based on the Customs value of the goods in New Zealand dollars. For goods that are liable for GST of NZ$60 or more and import duty, note that it cannot be released by the NZ Customs Service until you have paid all the charges.

GST Calculation Example

This example demonstrates how to calculate GST when importing goods to New Zealand:

  • Customs Value (FOB Price) = NZ$10,000
  • Import Duty (5%) = NZ$500
  • Shipping = NZ$1,000
  • Insurance = NZ$20
  • GST Rate: 15%

GST = 15% x ($10,000 + $500 + $1,000 + $20) = NZ$1,728

Note: For duty and GST calculations, if multiple orders from the same supplier and address are imported within a short time period, the NZ Customs Service as a single shipment.

d. Other Fees

The following are the other fees has to be paid:

  • Import entry transaction fee (IETF) – NZ$29.26
  • Biosecurity – NZ$23.41

However, if your goods are valued NZ$1,000 or more, a client code is be needed. A client code is a unique set of number that is issued to New Zealand entities, such as registered New Zealand companies.

The client code is also used for identifying individual importers and exporters. It is required for goods that are valued at NZ$1,000 or more to prepare for import and export entry.

e. Importing Procedure

Before importing goods, you must complete the following:

1. Submit an electronic import or cargo entry (ECI) document

2. Pay applicable Customs duties and Goods and Services Tax (GST)

3. Pay other applicable charges and levies

4. Submit appropriate documentation if any prohibited items (i.e. pets and animals, weapons and firearms, hazardous substances) are being imported

Note that your freight forwarder can help you with the document submission.

Import Licenses and Permits

While most products imported to New Zealand don’t require permits, some do. Here’s a list:

  • Agricultural items and food
  • Asbestos in its raw, fibrous state
  • Controlled drugs
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
    Persistent organic pollutants

However, note that there’s a difference between products regulations and an import permit.

Selling on Amazon from New Zealand

While New Zealand is one of the most prosperous nations on earth, it’s natural for New Zealand based eCommerce companies to look overseas for larger markets to tap into. Thanks to Amazon, selling internationally is not nearly as difficult or expensive as it used to be.

New Zealand based sellers have a few options when it comes to fulfillment:

Option A: Deliver products from New Zealand

Importing directly into New Zealand, and deliver products from home to buyer’s in Europe, the US, and Asia is perhaps the least attractive option. Let me summarize why this is the case:

1. You will not only pay for shipping once but twice. First from your factory to New Zealand, and then again when sending your goods to your overseas customers.

2. You’ll need to pay duties and GST in New Zealand, as you must first import the goods before you ship them out.

3. The delivery time from New Zealand takes longer, compared to Option A and B.

Option B: Deliver products from within your target market

One reason Amazon is so attractive to eCommerce businesses is the opportunity to ship goods to the target market, for example, the United States, and deliver the products domestically.

As such, you can offer your customers fast shipments – even if you’re based on the other side of the world, which is quite literary the case.

The downside is that you must ship in bulk to your target market, which may require that you set up a local company, pay import taxes and ensure compliance with local safety standards and regulations. This certainly adds to the complexity of things.

Option C: Deliver products from Hong Kong

But, what if you not only manufacture in China but also ship your products from there? Companies like Easyship and Floship makes it possible to ship individual products directly from their warehouses in Hong Kong to customers worldwide.

As such, you don’t need to first ship in bulk to New Zealand, or ‘commit’ to selling in either the US or Europe. Instead, you can start selling worldwide within a few days from your products coming off the assembly lines.

That said, you must still ensure compliance with safety standards and labeling requirements in your primary target markets.

  • Free Webinar

    We can help you manufacture products in China, Vietnam & India?

    • 1. Product design and material selection
    • 2. Finding suppliers in Asia
    • 3. Product samples and payments
    • 4. Quality control, lab testing & shipping


  • 4 Responses to “Importing from China to New Zealand: A Complete Guide

    1. Mark Murphy at 3:03 pm

      Hi great article thanks!

      I’m thinking of importing a few bicycles to New Zealand from China was hoping you could tell me what I need to look out for in terms of getting it through customs thanks 😊

    2. Teresa Binoka at 12:44 pm

      Hi Ika,

      would like to connect to learn more about importing to New Zealand and selling on Amazon.
      Look forward to working with you,

      Kind Regards,


      1. Ivan Malloci at 12:16 pm

        Hello Teresa,

        feel free to request a free consultation with us:

      2. Fredrik Gronkvist at 8:46 pm

        Hi Teresa,

        You can book a free consultation here:

    Comments are closed.

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