via XinHuaNet : WELLINGTON, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay launched a new online portal and non-tariff barrier (NTB) clearing house on Tuesday to improve Kiwi access to international markets.
The government is committed to removing barriers to trade so New Zealand’s exporters can compete internationally, McClay said in a statement.
“NTBs can be difficult and expensive for exporters to overcome and they are a significant issue,” he said, adding that around 70 percent of New Zealand’s exports are sent to the Asia-Pacific region where it is estimated that NTBs impose costs of 5.9 billion U.S. dollars alone.
“It’s vital that our companies know where to turn when they encounter such barriers so we are today launching a new government online portal and clearing house,” the minister said, adding that the new portal is tradebarriers.govt.nz.
All enquiries to the portal will now get a response from the government within 48 hours, McClay said, adding that officials from a range of government agencies will then work alongside the company to plan out next steps within six weeks.
The NTB clearing house was announced as part of the government’s ambitious new trade strategy – Trade Agenda 2030 in March. It is backed up by an NTB flying squad and extra funding for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to improve access to international markets, according to the minister.