New Zealand and the United States have a longstanding friendship arising from shared values and interests. Both countries are strongly committed to democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the market economy.
The United States, as the largest economy in the world, has historically been a significant economic partner for New Zealand. New Zealand has many ties with the United States including membership in key economic and political organizations such as the OECD, APEC and the WTO.
The first trading relationships between New Zealand and the United States were established in the 19th century. Today the US market consists of over 300 million consumers with an average income of more than double that of New Zealanders. The US is New Zealand's second largest export destination and third largest source of imports. In addition the US is our third largest source of tourists and a significant investment partner. It remains our third largest source of inward investment.
The trade in services between NZ and the US is considerable, services representing as they do over 25% of New Zealand's total exports. For instance the total spend by US tourists was over $697 million dollars in the year ending December 2006. Each US tourist is estimated to spend over $3500 per visit, more than double the average expenditure of Australian tourists. Other services exports, including tourism, education, royalties, computer services and research and development are also significant.
In terms of merchandise trade the US is NZ's second largest export destination and third largest source of imports. The dominant exports are frozen beef, sheepmeat, dairy products wood and fish. The remainder of NZ's exports are relatively diverse, and range from wine to niche manufactured products.
Imports from the US are also very diverse. The major imports are aircraft, oil, medical or veterinary instruments, motor vehicles and computers but the top 20 imports in the year ended June 2007 accounted for only 47% of the total.
Although the US is a significant trading partner for New Zealand there is ample scope to expand the relationship even further in ways which reflect our shared history and economic interests.
To read background on the NZ US relationship from a New Zealand perspective go to http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Foreign-Relations/North-America/index.php
To access updated trade statistics go to
To read an assessment of the US NZ relationship from a US perspective see New Zealand: Background and bilateral relations with the United States. CRS Report for Congress. 16 March 2007
To read an assessment of the USNZ trade relationship from the perspective of the US Trade Representative go to