New Zealand offers U.S. companies a wealthy, sophisticated market with a very transparent and open business environment and a stable democratic system. New Zealand consistently ranks high in measures of business honesty and integrity, and these features tend to offset the small market size. (Population: 5 million.)
New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 helped protect New Zealanders from the worst of the pandemic. However, due to a combination of global trading factors and extraordinary weather events, New Zealanders are facing a rising cost of living for most products and services. Climate change is an area of strategic focus for public and private organizations due to the wide-ranging implications it has on the New Zealand economy and society. Inflation was recorded as 6.7% for the year ending March 2023.
The foundation of New Zealand’s economy is the export of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, meat, forest products, fruit and vegetables, and wine. Dairy, New Zealand’s largest export commodity group making up 28% of all exports totaled approximately US$13 billion. In 2022, New Zealand exports to the U.S. totaled US$5.12 billion, approximately 10% of New Zealand’s total exports. Fluctuations in the NZ/US exchange rate can impact on New Zealand dollar export receipts. 2022 Average exchange rate: 1 NZ$ = .6359 U.S. cents.
The United States is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner after China and Australia, with whom New Zealand has Free Trade Agreements. (New Zealand does not have a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.) In 2022, New Zealand imports from the U.S. totaled US$4.17 billion. U.S. agricultural machinery, ICT, and healthcare products are key items sold to New Zealand.
New Zealand is one of a few countries to have a zero-emissions goal enshrined in law. The act aims to achieve net zero-emissions of almost all greenhouse gases by 2050. For business this means adopting new technologies and investment choices, e.g., introduction of electric vehicle fleets.
Visit the State Department’s website for background on the country’s political and economic environment.