Importing from New Zealand to the UK: A Guide for Businesses

An island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand has a modern market economy which is heavily dependent on international trade. Exports account for 24% of the country’s output, with the main exports being food or wood. New Zealand’s main partners for export are Australia, the US, Japan, China and the United Kingdom.

Here at TNT, we know that importing from across the other side of the world can be a bit daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help make importing from the country of New Zealand simple and easy. Read on to find out more.


New Zealand Fact File

  • Official Language(s): English, Maori
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • GDP: $170.59 billion
  • Calling Code: +64
  • Capital City: Wellington
  • Population: 4,242,048


Shipping from New Zealand

Shipping from the other side of the world is not going to be cheap, but there are ways to mitigate the price. For instance, knowing the journey that your goods will take will help you decide where you can save money.


Being islands, any shipment from New Zealand will need air or sea freight. Air freight is often the more expensive of the two, but it will be much faster than sea freight, which will be cheaper, and slower. At some ports, however, you may be charged an unloading or loading fee.


From there, your goods will likely be transported using road and rail networks. TNT has air, sea, road and rail connections and 175 different countries in its network, so we can work with you to make sure that you get your goods when you want, and at a price that you like.

Tax, Duty and Customs

Importing from outside of the EU means that you have to pay tax and duty and declare the goods to customs.



First, you’ll need a commodity code for your goods. Take a look at the online Trade Tariff to find the right one for your goods. This will make any rules or regulations that you need to follow clear, as well as any tax or duty that you have to pay on your particular goods. The commodity code will also let you know whether you need an import licence.


You must use a Single Administration Document, or SAD, to declare your New Zealand imports to HMRC through the CHIEF system. This system tracks goods arriving from inside and outside the EU by land, sea and air, and allows importers to communicate with customs electronically. It also forms part of the risk assessment procedure, and it identifies which goods or documentation need to be examined.


You will usually have to pay duty on goods imported from outside of the EU. The amount you pay will depend on how they are classified under the UK Trade Tariff.

Your goods will not be released by customs or the delivery company if you haven’t paid all the duty and UK VAT owed on the imports.



VAT is paid directly to HMRC on goods imported from countries not in the EU when they’re first brought in to the EU.


You can work out VAT by calculating the value of the goods that you’re importing, including the costs of the importation, such as packing, transport and insurance, and any duties or levies.


You can claim back the VAT on your VAT return if the goods you’re importing are taxable or for use in your business.


If you’re importing art, antiques and collectors’ items from outside the EU, then you can get a reduced rate of VAT.

Banned and Restricted Goods

There are a range of different items that are either banned or restricted when entering the EU and the UK. Take a look at the list here.


Outsource the Importation

Make it easy to import your goods from New Zealand by instructing TNT to work on your behalf. We work with you to ensure you get your goods as quickly and inexpensively as possible.