September 7, 2020

How digital trade tools can support New Zealand's recovery

New Zealand is a small open trading economy and COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our trading activities. Last week we attended the NZTech webinar to hear what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) had to say about how digital trade is an integral part of New Zealand’s trade recovery process.

MFAT’s view is that “digital trade is anything that is enabled by digital technologies whether or not it is digitally or physically delivered". Digital trade tools include the use of electronic certification for imports (eCert), electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) and electronic payments. Accessing and using these tools is essential to help address the restrictive trade practices and barriers that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.  

The use of digital tools also helps to standardise data collection, improve data integrity and, in the case of eCert, strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system. Businesses can use digital trade tools to expand trade channels, reduce barriers, increase trade volume and make cross border trading relationships more efficient.  

Two of the key considerations for businesses who utilise digital trade tools are (1) Privacy and (2) Data Security. To build and ensure consumer trust, personal information must be protected and privacy requirements complied with across borders. For sensitive trade data, excellent cyber security protocols are also critical for business trust and strong trade relationships.

If you use digital trade tools for the collection of sensitive data and personal information, deal with cross-border transfers and storage of data, have a digital trade issue or would like to discuss this topic further please contact us. The Ministry would also like to hear from you if you need digital trade support or require help with resolving a trade barrier, please contact

Social media image credit: Tobias Keller

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