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Selling online for your eCommerce business means that you can reach a wider market of customers. However, if you source or manufacture your products here in New Zealand, shipping them internationally to your customers means that you need to export these goods. As a result, you need to comply with New Zealand’s export laws. How you do so will depend on the nature of your business and the goods you sell. Therefore, it is crucial to find out what requirements you need to meet. This article will provide some background on how you can start exporting for your New Zealand eCommerce business.

Set Up Your Website for an International Market

Firstly, you need to ensure your eCommerce website meets the requirements for selling to an international market. This process mostly centres on ensuring the way you sell your products complies with the laws of the countries you want to sell to.

It is also a good idea to take steps to protect your business online. For instance, you will need three key legal documents to limit your legal liability and establish clear rules with your customers. These are your:

  • sales terms and conditions;
  • website terms of use; and
  • privacy policy.

Your sales terms and conditions are particularly important for exporting, as you will use this document to detail important notes about customer responsibility regarding their country’s customs process and local importing regulation.

In terms of privacy, some areas (such as the EU and Australia) have specific privacy laws that you need to meet when selling to customers in those countries. Therefore, you must account for these privacy regulations.
Additionally, the payment software you use to accept customer purchases needs to have the capability to handle international currency and overseas banking.

Find Out What Export Regulations Apply to You

If you wish to start exporting your eCommerce business’ products to overseas customers, you need to account for the various kinds of shipping regulations that exist. Different markets will have different rules for exporting, but these typically include:

  • New Zealand’s overall export requirements for your particular product; 
  • market-specific export requirements that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) sets, such as overseas market access requirements (OMARS); and
  • the import requirements of your destination country.

You can usually export the goods you sell online from New Zealand, but you will need to do your research to be sure of this. 

Additionally, the exact nature of the requirements you need to follow for exporting will largely depend on the nature of your products, but these requirements may include:

  • following specific rules during production;
  • meeting specific inspection and verification checks; and
  • including specific information on your product labels.

Some products have stricter regulations than others, both to keep customers or the ecosystem safe and maintain the quality standards that people associate with New Zealand goods. These products include:

  • food and beverages;
  • animal food;
  • animal products, such as wool and hides;
  • grains and seeds;
  • live plants and plant products;
  • timber and wood products;
  • certain agricultural/horticultural products; and
  • veterinary medicines.

It is crucial you find out the relevant export regulations for your eCommerce business. As the seller and exporter of goods, you are responsible for ensuring your exports meet all necessary requirements.

Check if You Need to Register as an Exporter

Depending on what you intend to export, you may need to register as an exporter. Specifically, you will need to register as an exporter if you intend to sell:

  • animals and animal products (such as meat, dairy products, or foods containing animal products);
  • some kinds of organic products; and
  • non-New Zealand wine, cider, or mead.

If you wish to export any kind of food product, you also need to have a food recall plan. This plan stops the sale and distribution of any unsafe food, so it is vital that you develop one.

Getting Export Clearance

As part of exporting for commercial purposes, you need to ensure you have export clearance before exporting most goods. The New Zealand Customs Service monitors export regulation compliance and manages approvals to ensure that no prohibited products leave the country. A customs broker can help you with this process. Alternatively, if you are an infrequent exporter or are just starting out, you can use the online declaration form on the Customs Service’s website to gain clearance. 

Some goods require specific documentation before you can apply for export clearance. For example, some goods require quality certificates, export certificates, or proof of origin documentation.

Be sure to store any commercial export documentation safely, as you need to keep these records for seven years.

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Key Takeaways

Exporting your goods for your eCommerce business can be a successful process. However, exporting can quickly become a complex process. Therefore, it is crucial that you do your research for the products you deal in to ensure you comply with all the regulations that exist. If you are unsure about your compliance, you should not hesitate to get help. If you would like more information or help with exporting your goods for your eCommerce business, contact LegalVision’s eCommerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I export my products overseas?

You will need to find out what export regulations apply to the specific products you wish to export, and ensure you prepare any appropriate certification. For instance, this could be following specific quality standards or processing requirements.

Can I export my goods for eCommerce?

If you wish to sell your goods to overseas customers for eCommerce, then you will need to export these goods to their relevant countries. This process is possible, as long as you comply with the necessary export requirements for your goods.

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