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How to Export and Import Clothes Online in New Zealand

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E-commerce fashion brands have been on the rise in recent years. Especially with the pandemic pushing purchases to be made online, the world turned its eyes towards technology and online platforms to get us through multiple lockdowns. New Zealand is no stranger to e-commerce either. According to Clickpost, an increase of 31% in New Zealand's e-commerce market was alone responsible for lifting the international e-commerce market rate by 29% in 2020 and the industry has only been expanding at a steady rate since then.

In order for local e-commerce fashion brands to function, they need to know how to import and export clothings to and from New Zealand. You might be wondering, why is this necessary? This is because importing clothes from overseas, such as  Bangladesh, China and Turkey, can lower costs for operation since production and labour costs are cheaper in these countries. Furthermore, these countries also export quality surplus garments overseas sometimes, which means that your fashion brand can easily import these garments to create your own designs at a lower cost as well. Some fashion brands might also opt to hop on the latest fashion trends by importing branded apparel from Korea, which is known for popularising K-Style. 

So, how exactly can fashion brands start importing or exporting clothes in New Zealand? Of course, there are many important procedures and rules that have been put in place for it to be a smooth process. Read on to get a clearer idea of the must-dos before importing or exporting apparel from the country.

What you can export from New Zealand

Before exporting any clothes for your online fashion store, you should know that yarn, woven fabric, knit fabric, non-woven fabric, and industrial fabrics are the types of clothing materials that companies are allowed to export. Before exportation, take note of the standards that need to be followed. The national standards body, Standards New Zealand, works closely with Standards Australia to develop Australian-New Zealand standards (ASNZS) which are largely based on international standards. The standards are as follows:

1. Children’s Clothing

  • Children's nightwear and limited daywear must have reduced fire hazards. It is mandatory and it applies to garments sized 00-14. (AS/NZS 1249-1999)

2. Protective Clothing

  • Method for evaluating clothing for protection against heat and fire must follow standards (AS/NZS 4502)

  • Protective clothing must offer protection against liquid chemicals (AS/NZS 4503)

  • Protective clothing for users of hand-held chainsaws must follow standards (AS/NZS 4453)

  • Sun protective clothing must be evaluated and classified (AS/NZS 4399:1996 and 1996A1)

As for clothing labels, they must include the required information in English on a permanent label. For textile products with fibre content, there are specific methods of labelling that need to be followed (Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2622 – Textile products - Fibre content labelling). The Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1957 Textiles - Care ensures that labels outline the words, phrases and symbols used to indicate the correct way to care for textile goods, including dry-cleaning and washing.

Importing into New Zealand

Before you can begin importing into New Zealand, the first thing you need to do is find out how to obtain a registered importer licence online. The licence comes under the three categories of procedures that are required:

1. One-time registration procedures to act as an Importer in importing country

2. Specific import licence to import goods if applicable

3. Certification from concerned government agencies of importing country related to each import wherever applicable

To obtain the importer licence, you will need to head over to the importing country government agency to have it issued officially. After you receive your licence, you will have to ensure that your imported clothes meet all requirements so they can be cleared through customs smoothly. To ensure smooth importation, check the Prohibited and Restricted Import list as a guide to understand what goods are allowed to be imported to New Zealand, and what items require approval or a consent form. For example, New Zealand authorities prohibit the importation of pirated or counterfeit items into the country.

Start importing and exporting from New Zealand with DHL Express

With all these regulations in place for export and import in New Zealand, it might be a tedious process for online business owners. However, you can make the whole process a little smoother with DHL Express’ logistics services. We provide you with transport solutions that strike the right balance between cost efficiency and improved transit times. This way, you can rest easy knowing that your import and export goods are well taken care of, and will successfully pass through customs on time. Rely on our exceptional service, so you can focus on what matters most.

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