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Market access barriers to the import of goods into New Zealand

by Dr. Christian Becker

What are the trade restrictions on goods imported into New Zealand? Does the country deserve its reputation for being a state with an extremely liberal trade regime? Christian Becker analyzes whether New Zealand - like other countries - maintains open or hidden trade restrictions on imported goods in legal or factual terms.

The author begins with a brief description of New Zealand's economic development. The emphasis is on a description of the development after colonisation by the United Kingdom. Particularly relevant are changes in the almost 100-year partnership between the two states, New Zealand's growing economic ties to the Asia-Pacific region and the fundamental restructuring of New Zealand's trade and economic order after 1984.

After outlining the current situation in New Zealand's economy, the integration of the country into the global network of trade agreements is analysed. Since the economic and legal dependence of the states on each other is greater today than ever before, cooperation between them in this area has increased considerably in recent years. New Zealand has also signed various bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements. The most important of these are undoubtedly the WTO agreements, so that the work also contains an introduction to the content and practice of the principles and provisions of the WTO legal system and identifies problem areas.

Despite many agreements to liberalise world trade, many states continue to serve - sometimes openly, sometimes subtly - protectionist tendencies. By concentrating on one country, the author aims to show exemplary developments and difficulties in international trade. It is examined whether and to what extent subtle or hidden trade restrictions are applied in New Zealand. The investigation focuses on the customs system and the application of various non-tariff trade barriers (including trade defence instruments such as anti-subsidy and anti-dumping measures as well as regulations for the protection of humans, animals and the environment).

Finally, two market studies will be carried out for New Zealand. Internationally, protectionist measures are widespread, particularly in the agricultural, textile and clothing sectors. Therefore, the current situation of these two sectors in the international field as well as in New Zealand is examined.

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