BOP Export Awards

Expanding your business horizons to include Latin America

19 June 2017

Expanding your business horizons to include Latin America

Has all this talk about Carnival got you thinking, is Latin America a market for our company? 

Wondering where to start? 
Once seen as competitors, today the knowledge and expertise of kiwi’s is highly regarded and demanded across Latin America, particularly in the agricultural space. 

We’ve pulled together a high-level overview and some top-tips to get you started on your journey exporting to Latin America. We’ve also highlighted some key resources that will be helpful for you to look into, and some questions you’ll need to consider.

There are currently two trade deals in place between New Zealand and Latin America – the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur.

Pacific Alliance 

Established in 2011 between the presidents of Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico with a goal to further free trade and economic integration. Together these countries represent 36% of Latin America’s GDP. There are 49 observer countries to the Alliance, of which New Zealand is one.
In 2016 the Pacific Alliance removed 92% of tariffs on goods traded between members, with a goal to remove all tariffs by 2020. 

In March 2017, Trade Minister, Todd McClay pitched a trade deal between New Zealand and the Alliance. While negotiations happen, New Zealand will be granted access as an associate member of the alliance as a precursor to these trade negotiations. 


Established in 1991 as an extension of a trade deal between Argentina and Brazil, today Mercosur also includes Paraguay and Uruguay. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people and currency between these countries. 

Collectively the Mercosur bloc has a GDP of more than US $2.4 trillion and a total population of 260 million. 

Currently, New Zealand is an observer country of this alliance, but in May 2017 Trade Minister, Todd McClay met with senior officials of the Mercosur bloc to further discuss trade deals between the regions. 

The opportunity

With a population of over 600 million across a variety of cultures Latin America presents a huge landscape of opportunities for New Zealand businesses. 
While the region doesn’t come without its challenges, opportunities cover a variety of industries including agribusiness, food, services, energy, manufacturing and infrastructure.

Latin America is well and truly open for business. 

Interested in heading to the region as part of a Trade Mission?

ExportNZ, NZTE and the Latin American Business Council are taking a Trade Mission to Chile and Argentina in late September 2017. For more information and to register your interest, please contact 

Insider tips:

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) are a great place to start. After a quick chat with them we established three key things you’ll need to succeed on your journey of exporting to Latin America. 

1. Perseverance and resilience

You need this to succeed in negotiating the bureaucracy, business culture and being in a position to respond quickly to change. New Zealand came first in the World Bank’s Ease of doing business ranking; clearly doing business anywhere else is going to be harder. 

2. Long-term thinking 

Have an understanding of where you want your business to be at in Latin America in three to five years time. This goal will help inform the level of commitment required at each stage of investment and development. 

3. A customer centric approach 

What works with customers in New Zealand may need to be modified to suit the needs of the various Latin American markets. Their consumer needs are different. Be sure to spend time with customers in market and not make assumptions about their similarities to kiwis. 
If you are keen to get cracking we recommend you touch base with the following organisations and check out these resources: 


ExportNZ can help identify where you’re at in your exporting journey provide tools and education to help bridge the gap and connect you with others who have been there. 

Contact our local office on 07 571 0600 or email:

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) 

NZTE offer a wide range of resources and information. Market guides are available on the NZTE website: 

Contact their Advisory Team  who will be able to help you identify where you’re at in your exporting journey. 

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)

MFATs website includes information on trade, embassies, working holiday schemes and recent official visits.


Latin America Business Council 

Information on membership and events offered by the Council.

Travel risks associated with Brazil