The Government is freezing planned price hikes customs charges at the border to help export and import businesses, Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa says.

The new fee regime for exporters and importers which was due to come in on June 1 has been put on hold for at least 12 months.

The freeze on the fee increase means 70,000 importers and potentially millions of customers will benefit by not seeing border fees on products rise by 13 per cent.

Six million low-value (under $1000 each) exports and 11 million low-value imports that are air freighted every year would also avoid any additional charges.


That was expected to be worth about $5 million to the relevant businesses.

"We're looking at everything we can do to support jobs by helping businesses bounce back from Covid as quickly and strongly as possible," Salesa said.

"Putting these fee rises on hold is the right thing to do."

The Government would progress "a pro-business part of the new fee regime", she said.

Businesses will no longer need to provide Customs with a $5000 security when they request the detention of goods that might infringe their intellectual property rights.

"Customs detains goods at the border that infringe a trademark or copyright, to give copyright holders an opportunity to take court action," Salesa said.

"In 2017, for example, Customs detained cereal boxes that breached the 'Weet-Bix' trade mark, enabling Sanitarium New Zealand to take successful court action against the importer."

Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. Photo / Supplied
Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. Photo / Supplied

The security is a bond and the money isn't used. This created an unnecessary financial barrier for some small businesses trying to protect their intellectual property rights, she said.


The Government has also previously agreed not to penalise businesses which are struggling to pay their duty on time – such as importers, customs brokers and excise manufacturers – by agreeing to remit or refund compensatory interest and late payment penalties.

As at April 30, about 350 Customs clients had advised the agency that they could not make their duty payments on time, representing $85 million worth of revenue that Customs is working with businesses to see paid.

The financial assistance will apply to interest and penalties arising on or after March 25 and for up to two years.