New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response.
Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing kits used for COVID-19 testing and soap imports in the first instance.
Officials are in the process of identifying other medical and hygiene products needed for the COVID-19 response, and further tariff concessions will follow shortly.
“There is increased global demand for these medical and hygiene products and some countries are restricting their exports of them. We want to make sure that New Zealand has the most straightforward and cost effective access possible to the supply of the goods needed to respond to COVID-19,” Kris Faafoi said.
“Even though New Zealand already has low tariffs overall, and a significant proportion of our imports are tariff-free thanks to our free trade agreements, some imported products required for the COVID-19 response remain subject to tariffs. Removing tariffs on these products will reduce their cost of imports and facilitate access to them from the widest possible range of overseas suppliers.”
David Parker said it is imperative that during the COVID-19 global pandemic, trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and food continues to flow freely.
“This is why New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar recently announced our shared commitment to maintaining open and connected trade and supply chains.
“We believe that global cooperation on trade can enable a better response to this global health crisis. We are encouraging other countries to join us in this commitment as soon as possible,” David Parker said
“Removing tariffs on relevant products and spending $600 million of the more than $25 billion COVID-19 support package to keep air freight moving gives effect to this commitment. We are also actively exploring other initiatives with our trading partners to keep trade flowing.”