China to New Zealand

Importing from China to New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide


China offers a perfect opportunity for an importer to import quality and affordable goods from China to New Zealand.

For this reason, you need to equip yourself with the relevant information when importing from China to New Zealand.

I have prepared this guide to assist you in with all the relevant information you may need while you are importing from China to New Zealand.

From goods that you can import to New Zealand to the customs regulations, you will find this guide helpful in your venture.

Importing from China to New Zealand
Importing from China to New Zealand


Chapter 1: Importing to New Zealand Tips – Is Importing from China is Good for You?

No one goes ahead with a business without proper consultation.

You may want to inquire how profitable the business is and how you can go about importing from China to New Zealand.

To help you in your analysis, here are a few tips that can get through when you want to import from China to New Zealand.

1) Consider Local Market in New Zealand

Understanding the market that you want to engage in will indeed play an essential factor when you want to import to New Zealand.

Wellington New Zealand

Wellington New Zealand

Different markets will need different strategies and products to conquer.

This may be regarding different products to import and different sizes.

Understanding this aspect of importing can lead you to cut a niche for your business.

High demand for goods means that you can quickly get a market if you import them.

One thing that you need to avoid is maintaining a high stock.

High stock means that you will have to consider other charges such as warehousing charges.

To prevent this, always ensure that there is a high demand for your product.

2) Know New Zealand Restricted and Prohibited Imports

You need to pay close attention to the customs rules and regulations when importing from China to New Zealand.

This includes understanding the prohibited and restricted goods when importing.

If you import these goods, the customs will slap you with a hefty fine plus confiscation of the items.

Prohibited imports

Prohibited imports

When importing restricted goods, always ensure that you obtain the necessary permits before doing so.

3) Evaluate the Risks of Importing from China to New Zealand

Just like any business, there are risks that you may want to evaluate when importing from China against purchasing locally.

A careful analysis of these potential risks is essential.

It is from this analysis that you will choose between either importing to New Zealand or not.

Here is a look at the risks that you are likely to face when importing to New Zealand from China.

The first risk has to be the distance which affects the quality of your goods.

Since the distance is considerable, you are not in a position to determine the quality of your goods.

The effect of this is that your supplier may deliver poor quality goods.

COSCO Shipping to New Zealand

COSCO to New Zealand

This risk increases by the fact that since the distance is to larges, you cannot return the goods in time.

This leads to your suffering loss.

To minimize this, always ensure that you run a background check on the supplier before engaging their services.

Also, you can ask for several samples before settling on a supplier to supply you with a particular product.

However, you need to keep in mind that even though the samples are free, you will pay for the shipments cost.

Also, there is a risk of losing your clients as a result of your goods taking longer to arrive.

This can be a significant setback as you will end up with a stock that you cannot sell.

To minimize this, always ensure that you plan early enough for your shipment so that you still have a constant stock.

4) Know Your Financial Capability

Another consideration that you need to make is understanding your financial strength.

Finances will play a significant role in your importation from New Zealand.

For instance, you will need finances to purchase your goods in China, and also to ship them to New Zealand.

You will also require capital for customs clearance as well as inland transportation of your goods.

New Zealand Dollar

New Zealand Dollar

Lack of proper finance may lead to either you importing less than what you wanted or goods of poor quality.

You may also experience delays in customs clearance of your cargo.

Always pout into consideration all the financial input that you need before setting out to import from China to New Zealand.

5) Prepare to Deal with Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Since you will be dealing with foreign currency to buy your imports, you need to understand the effect of exchange rate fluctuations.

An increase in the fluctuation rate may cause you to pay more for your goods.

There are various ways you can use to minimize this risk.

First, you can have a savings account that you can use to top up your payments.

NZD vs USD 5 Year Exchange Rate History

NZD vs. USD 5 Year Exchange Rate History – Image source: XE

You can also purchase a forward cover which you can use to when the exchange rate fluctuates.

Lastly, you can also transfer the risk to your supplier by agreeing with them that you will use the New Zealand currency to trade.

At the time, the exchange rate fluctuation may be in your side.

That is, the value of the international currency may decrease meaning that you will pay less of the amount you were to pay initially.

6) Choose Cost Effective Trading Terms

The choice of a particular trading term will influence the risk and the cost of your shipment.

To assist you with choosing the correct trading term for your importation, here is a look at the common terms that are in use.


Under this incoterm, the responsibility and control of your cargo are with you during the shipping period.

You will pay for shipping the cargo as well as taking an insurance cover for your goods.

At the customs, you will be responsible for all the cost associated with customs clearance at your port of destination.

Your supplier will avail your cargo to the port of origin in China as well as pay for the transportation cost from their warehouse to the port.

At the port, they will pay for loading your goods to the carrier and clear them at the customs.

With this incoterm, you can pick a carrier and negotiate with your forwarder.


This incoterm allows you to cater for the cost of your goods as well as the customs clearance at your pot of destination.

Also, you will have to make arrangements for transporting your goods to your warehouse.

The role of your supplier includes making available your goods to your port of origin, clearance at the port of origin and paying the carrier of your cargo.

Other responsibilities for your supplier will be to pay for an insurance cover for your goods as well-paying port charges.


EXW works allow you to pay for the cost of handling your cargo at the port as well as the customs clearance at both ports.

You will also be in charge of taking an insurance cover for your cargo as well as paying for a carrier for your goods.

On the other hand, your supplier will deliver your goods to the agreed place and issuing you with the relevant documents.

This incoterm allows you to have maximum responsibility for your goods during the importation process.

Chapter 2: What to Import from China to New Zealand

There are several items that you can import from China to New Zealand.

Depending on your market niche, here is a look at the top imports from China to New Zealand.

Goods New Zealand Import

Goods New Zealand Imports – Photo courtesy: OEC

· Vehicles and machinery

Under this category, you can import cars, tractors, or even heavy machines for use in industries.

· Medical apparatus

This is another area where you can find products to import.

Among the top medical apparatus that you can import include medicinal drugs, syringes and general apparatus for use in hospitals.

You can also import screening and dialysis equipment.

· Electrical equipment

If you want to cut a niche on the importation business, then this needs to be your specialty due to its vastness.

Among the items in this category include television sets, computers, radio, and transformers.

· Iron and steel items

These are items that you can find commonly in the construction items, from steel nails to construction steel; you can import various items from China to New Zealand.

· Aerospace industry

There are several items that you can import from China for use in the aerospace industry in New Zealand.

They include body parts for aircraft as well as their accessories.

20% of Imports Come from China

20% of Imports Come from China – Image source: OEC

Chapter 3: How to Find a List of Suppliers in China

The people who will play an important role in the importation of your goods are your suppliers.

They are the ones who will organize for timely production and delivery of your goods from China to New Zealand.

As such, you need to have a supplier who you can trust to engage.

Here is a look at the various methods you can use to find reputable suppliers.

1. Visit Online Marketplaces

Online Marketplace offers you the perfect place f interacting with your suppliers without having to go to China.

Through these online platforms, you get to engage with different manufacturers and suppliers who can deliver your goods at different prices.

Though there are various online platforms that you can use, here is a look at the major ones:

The first one is Alibaba which offers you an opportunity to interact with different Chinese suppliers and manufacturers.

The use of this Alibaba is common among most Chinese suppliers and manufacturers.

Alibaba suppliers

Alibaba Suppliers

The erase and security of Alibaba ensures that you get the right supplier or manufacturer for your goods.

Again, since clients are allowed to leave feedback about a particular supplier, you can always check for a supplier with more positive feedbacks.

Another advantage of using Alibaba is that there is an availability of Alipay which you can use to pay for your transactions.

AliPay Website

AliPay website

Alipay ensures that you get the goods that you wanted and your supplier or manufacturer gets paid for delivering those goods.

AliExpress works in the same way as Alibaba since it is the sister company.

However, unlike Alibaba that lets you interact with manufacturers and wholesale suppliers, AliExpress allows you to interact with small-scale traders.



As such, it is ideal if you are importing small volume of goods from China to New Zealand.

And with the security measures in place, you are assured of your transactions.

Made in China is another online platform that lets you interact with your suppliers.

However, before you engage with a particular supplier, always ensure that you have done a background search on the supplier.

The perspective is typical that online marketplaces are places for scams and fraudsters.

However, not all these sites have such characters.

Before using any online marketplace, check on the reviews to ensure it is legit.

Also, engage with a particular supplier only after being sure of their operations.

2. Use China Sourcing Agents

If you are a new importer, the services of a China sourcing agent can be of great help.

This is because you can capitalize on their networks to find yourself a supplier or manufacturer for your goods.

Sourcing agents usually have a network of suppliers and manufacturers from whom you can get a particular supplier.

China sourcing agents

China sourcing agents

What happens is that you will contact a sourcing agent with all the specifications of your supplier.

Your sourcing agent will then look at the available supplier or manufacturers and come up with a list for you.

They will then help you go through the list by discussing the positive and negative aspects or each supplier.

By doing so, you will be able to get a supplier who you will engage for the importation of your goods from China to New Zealand.

3. Attend China Trade Fair and Exhibitions

China Trade Fair and Exhibitions offer a perfect way of interacting with potential suppliers of your goods.

Attending a trade fair and exhibition gives you an opportunity of getting a fair price since there are several suppliers and manufacturers.

Another importance of these trade fairs is that you can identify the market trends which will give you an edge when selecting your imports.

There are different trade fairs and exhibitions in China where you can get to interact with several suppliers.

Here is a look at the common ones.

· The Canton Fair

The Canton fair also known as the China Import and Export Fair is the standard trade fair that you can attend in China.

This fair exhibition is held in Canton in Guangzhou province in the autumn and spring season each year.

The organizers of this fair are the government of Guangzhou and the ministry of commerce in China.

The most common goods you can find here include electronic foods, vehicles, machinery, and consumer goods.

However, that is not to mean you cannot find other goods since virtually every product is at display during this exhibition.

· The Yiwu Commodities Fair

If you are a small volume importer and you are looking for consumer goods that are at an affordable price, then you need to attend the Yiwu Commodities Fair.

It is usually is a permanent fair unlike other types of fairs in China.

YiWu Commodity Fair

YiWu Commodity Fair

The culmination of this trade fair is the annual Yiwu International commodities fair which is in October.

The location of this trade fair is in Zhejiang province at a Yiwu International Expo Center.

The most common items on display at this trade fair are crafts, stationery, knitwear, toys, ornaments, accessories.

· Beijing International Auto Show

If you want to specialize in the importation of automobiles and their accessories, then you need to pay a visit to this show.

The Beijing International Auto Show is the largest automobile show in China that showcases vehicles from virtually every manufacturing company in China.

You can locate this show in Shunyi District in Beijing China though it also showcases in other cities in China.

This show is generally around April to May after every two years.

· Bauma China Trade fair

BaumaChina trade fair is ideal if you are importing construction materials from China to New Zealand.

Bauma China

Bauma China

In this trade fair, you can find construction machinery, construction vehicles and equipment, and building materials machines.

This is a bi-annual event held in Shanghai around November.

· East China Import and Export Commodity Fair (ECF)

This is a four-day event that is held every year with the support of the ministry of commerce in China and nine Chinese provinces.

By far, it is the largest trade fair in China that showcases products from around China.

Among the common items, you can find in this fair include Garments, Home Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Art Deco Gifts.

ECF is in early March.

East China Fair

East China Fair

You can attend these events in one of the following cities: Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Nanjing, and Ningbo.

· China Electronic Fair

This is the largest trade fairs in China that specialize in electronic and electronic products.

The trade fair usually happens in multiple cities in a road show fashion.

The event takes place thrice per year, that is, in Spring, summer, and autumn.

The cities where these events take place are Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Chengdu.

Chapter 4: Understand New Zealand Import Regulations

One thing is a car when you are importing; you need to understand the customs regulation in New Zealand.

This is because you don’t want to get in trouble with the customs authorities.

To help you understand the import regulations in New Zealand, here is a breakdown of the regulation process.

· New Zealand Customs Clearance Process

The customs authorities in New Zealand will demand a couple of things before your goods are allowed to enter the country.

First, if you are importing any restricted item, you will be required to submit the relevant documents.

New Zealand Customs

New Zealand Customs

Confirm with the customs where you can get the relevant permits for such goods.

Always check with the customs that whatever you are importing is not a prohibited item.

Doing so will lead to the customs fining you.

After that, the customs will require that you submit an Electronic Cargo Entry (ECI) lodgment.

You can obtain the ECI from the following: Your customs broker, your freight forwarder, Trade Single Window (TSW) or an Electronic Data Interchange Software.

Remember, you are required to submit your Import Entry Clearance within 20 days of your goods arriving at the port of entry.

Alternatively, you can submit this clearance before your products arrive.

You can choose from one of the three Import Entry Clearance available depending on your goods.

That is, you can have standard Import Entry if your products have a value of NZ$1,000 or more.

You can also have a temporary Import Entry if your goods will be in New Zealand for only a year.

Lastly, you can have a Simplified Import Entry.

The use of the Simplified Import Entry is for private imports that have a VFD value of not more than $1000.

You can also use it if you are importing unaccompanied goods regardless of their VFD value.

Lastly, you can use it when you are importing private goods that have a value of not more than $1000.

In case your goods arrived at the port less than what you ordered, and you have to order a separate shipment, you will have to register for Permit Entry for the products.

Remember, if you cannot give out the full information for your goods at the time of customs clearance, you will need to apply for a Single-Entry permit.

You also need to note that your goods will be released to you once you have paid the necessary duties and inspection is complete on your goods.

Chapter 5: Calculate Shipping Cost from China to NZ

It is important that you understand the cost of shipping from China to New Zealand.

For a fact, there are a number of factors that determine the shipping cost.


Let’s have a quick overview of some of the most critical factors:

1. Fuel cost

The price of fuel keeps fluctuating depending on the global oil price.

As such, this may affect your shipping cost since it may increase or decrease during the shipping period.

Your invoice will indicate this change as a fuel surcharge.

2. Season

Your shipping cost will be affected by the shipping season or Chinese holidays.

During high season, the shipping cost will tend to be higher because many importers are importing their cargo hence scramble for space.

You can always reduce your shipping cost by importing during the low season.

3. Distance

If you are importing far off area in New Zealand, then your shipping cost will tend to be higher.

On the contrary, if the distance is small, your shipping cost will be lower.

4. Port charges

Different ports charge different port charges for importing through them.

Such charges go towards maintaining the port.

5. Weight and volume of your cargo

Whichever is heavier between the weight and volume of your cargo, the customs will use it to calculate the shipping cost.

If your cargo is heavy, you will pay more.

6. Size of your cargo

If you are importing irregular items such as machinery, the size of your cargo matters.

This is because you will have to pay for the lost slots that your cargo occupies.

Types of shipping container

Types of shipping container

Lost slots refer to the spaces left that your carrier cannot use once your cargo has occupied the ship.

Chapter 6: Find a Reliable Chinese Freight Forwarder

Logistics is a significant part of your importation from China to New Zealand.

You will, therefore, need a forwarder to handle this part of your importation.

Many forwarders can handle your goods from China to New Zealand.

However, finding a reliable forwarder who can handle your goods can be a tiresome experience.

Here is a look at some of the tips you can use to find a reliable freight forwarder.

· Check on the experience

A reliable forwarder needs to have the necessary knowledge that you need to be able to import your goods from China to New Zealand.

This experience may be in the form of advice on the best shipping route as well as the best Carrier that you can use.

These experience needs to enable you to have a smooth customs clearance of your cargo.

Remember, any delay in importing your cargo may lead to severe losses.

· Financial strength

Another element that you can check on is the financial strength of the forwarding company.

If there is anything that you need to avoid during importation is having surprises.

A forwarding company with less financial muscles can make you pay for some charges even when it is there duty to do so.

Failure to pay may lead to your cargo being held by various stakeholders till you pay them.

A reliable forwarder will always give you time to settle your bill.

As such, they may cover all the bills and deliver your goods then you pay them.

Always analyze the financial strength of a forwarding company before engaging them.

A reliable forwarder will be willing to share this information.

· Check if they have the services you need

The forwarding industry is a massive industry.

You will, therefore, find that there are categories of forwarding companies who offer different forwarding services.

For instance, there are forwarding companies that offer general services while there are others that provide specialized services.

You will, therefore, need to look for a forwarding company that has the services that you need.

This is important especially when you are looking for specialized services such as RORO and REEFER services.

· Communication

For the efficient importation of your cargo, you will need a forwarding company that is in constant communication.

Such a company will always inform you of the progress of your import up to when they reach you.

Communication is essential when I come to international trade.

With the various risks that can occur during importation, you will need to be informed to prepare early enough.

Always look out for companies that are in constant communication with their clients.

· Membership of an accredited international body

The easiest way you can find a forwarding company s by checking if the company is a member of an internationally recognized institution.

There is a particular way in which companies with such membership offer their services to maintain their membership status.

Choosing such companies will make you enjoy world-class forwarding services

· Customers’ feedback

The feedbacks of previous customers can help in determining if a freight forwarder is reliable or not.

A reliable forwarder will always have positive feedback from their customers which is a positive sign of engagement.

On the other hand, you need to avoid interacting with forwarding companies that have negative feedback from their clients.

Such companies may end up ruining your importation business.

Here is a useful resource when it comes to this: 7 Tips to Finding Freight Forwarder in China.

Chapter 7: How to Start Import Export Business in New Zealand

If there is a business opportunity that you need to focus on is the Import Export Business in New Zealand.

This is because, despite several attempts, it remains untapped.

Let me take you through the process of starting up your own Import Export Business in New Zealand.

Take a look.

Step 1: Choose a business name and establish a website

The first step is to have a business name that you will operate.

Once you have a business name, register it with the relevant authorities and get the permits that are needed.

You will also need to have a domain for your website that you will use.

Several companies can help you obtain one.

The function of the website is to enable quick interaction with the parties that you will engage with during your importation process.

Step 3: Select a product

The next step is to decide which product you are going to import and sell.

There are several ways of selecting a product to sell.

However, you need to ensure the product can sell quickly and as much as possible reduce warehousing costs.

Also, your product needs to cost less and sell high for you to make a profit.

Step 4: Select a supplier for your goods

Once you have found a product that you want to sell, you need to engage a supplier who will supply your goods.

A good supplier needs to allow for favorable negotiating terms for both of you.

Step 5: Choose a freight forwarder

A freight forwarder will be instrumental in importing your goods to New Zealand from China.

They will arrange for transportation and if possible, the customs clearance process.

There are several tips that we have discussed here that will help you find a reliable freight forwarder.

Step 6: Marketing of your goods

Once you have imported your cargo, you will have to create awareness of the product to attract clients.

You can do this either through the online platforms including the social media sites or by using the traditional methods of marketing.

Step 7: Selling and delivery of your goods

In case clients like your goods, they will contact you to make a purchase.

Depending on your terms of payments, you can negotiate on the delivery of the products.

After making the payments, your clients need to have your goods.

You can either take the products to them or make arrangements for them to come and collect them

Chapter 8: Importing from Alibaba to New Zealand

One of the ways you can import from China to New Zealand is through Alibaba.

This is an online site that allows you to engage with different suppliers for the supply of your goods.

Allow me to take you through the process of starting your importation from China to New Zealand using Alibaba.

· Identify the product to import

Just like any other business venture, when you choose to import from Alibaba to New Zealand, you need to have an idea of what you want to import.

The importance of this is that it will help you in planning how you will get the product from Alibaba to New Zealand.

Also, by identifying a product, it gives you ample time to search for the market.

There are various ways through which you can identify a product to import.

Check our earlier discussion on this.

· Identify potential suppliers

Alibaba offers a unique database of suppliers that you can pick to supply your goods.

By checking on the reviews of several suppliers, you can know which supplier you can engage to supply your goods.

As a guide, always pick suppliers who have positive reviews from their clients and whose ratings are higher.

This is an indication that they supply quality goods.

· Engage with your suppliers

Once you have a list of potential suppliers, you can now go ahead and engage them.

The purpose of this is to enable you to negotiate on several areas of your importations

These areas include the MOQ, the cost of your goods as well as the production time of your goods.

Negotiating at this stage will enable you to get the right supplier as well as favorable terms for your importation.

· Check on your finances

Proper financial planning is essential for you to import from Alibaba to New Zealand.

There are various costs that you will encounter during your importation process.

Right from the cost of your goods to the cost of customs clearance, you need to plan on your finances carefully.

Failure to do this will result in consequences such as not having enough capital for a particular process.

The plan is putting into considerations the risks that you will encounter when importing from China to New Zealand.

· Choose a port of origin and destination

Once you have everything in order and your supplier is ready to supply your goods, you can choose a port that is convenient for you.

This is both in China as the port of origin as well as the final destination port in New Zealand.

By choosing a port of landing and a port destination, your goods will be shipped conveniently from China to New Zealand.

As a tip, choose a port that is near you so that you can reduce the transportation cost.

You can also check on the port charges of different port as well as port handling mechanism before settling on a given port.

· Collection of your goods

Once your supplier has delivered your goods, you can engage the service of a freight forwarder to ship your goods.

They will ship them to your port of destination and do the customs clearance for you.

What you need to note here is that you will pay for all the transportation cost for shipping your goods from China to the US.

Once the goods arrive, you can pay for them and collect them.

The availability of Alipay ensures that your payment is secure.

Chapter 9: FAQs Importing from China to New Zealand

Getting clarifications on areas that you are not sure about can improve your importation process.

That is why this section takes you through the frequently asked questions by our clients and our feedback to these questions.

Air New Zealand Jets Lined up at Christchurch Airport.

Air New Zealand

Have a look.

1. Why are the customs authorities holding my goods?

Various factors may cause the customs to hold your goods.

For instance, it might due to you not paying the necessary duties.

Also, the customs might have discovered that you undervalued your imports to avoid paying the duties.

Another reason is that you are importing prohibited or restricted goods without the necessary permits.

2. What is the process of paying customs charges?

There are two ways in which you can use to pay your customs duties depending on how you import your cargo.

If you are using mail, New Zealand (NZ) mail will send you a letter detailing the amount that you are to pay.

You need to pay this amount before collecting your goods.

If you are using a courier, they will contact you to let you know how much you are to pay as a duty.

3. What does an Import Entry Transaction fee imply?

This is a fee that you will pay for risk assessment and the process of the goods that you have imported.

Usually, this charge is NZ$29.26 inclusive of the GST.

4. What is a GST and what am I paying it on?

GST stands for Goods and Service Tax.

You will pay this tax on all the goods that you are importing to New Zealand and their importation cost.

Generally, the ax is at 15% of the value of your imports.

However, if you are a registered New Zealand business, you can ask for a refund of this amount when filling a GST return.


I hope I was able to explain everything as far as importing from China to New Zealand is concerned.

As you can see, importing from China is not that complicated as long as you follow the laid down regulations.

With help from a reliable forwarder, you can be sure of safe and secure importation of your goods from China to New Zealand.

Start your importation from China to New Zealand today and open yourself to unlimited business potential.

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