General region overview

The India, Middle East and Africa region (IMEA) is a significant export market for New Zealand. It is also a region of vast diversity and varying levels of economic development.

There has been a strong response across IMEA to the COVID-19 outbreak, with most countries pausing commercial flights and closing borders. Existing geopolitical tensions in the region have taken a back seat as countries react to the immediate COVID-19 threat.

There are variable, and in some cases considerable, social impacts across the region, with most events, gatherings, schools, entertainment, restaurants and sports venues closed across multiple markets. Governments have used varying levels of enforcement, including police patrols and curfews, to control infection rates.

The Middle East has seen a strong stimulus response from both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Saudi Arabia has pledged a 50 billion riyal (NZ$22 billion) package aimed at SMEs to preserve jobs. Similarly, the UAE's central bank has announced a 100 billion dirham (NZ$45 billion) package offered as capital buffers and zero-interest loans to local banks.

Given the significance of the airline, oil, financial and tourism sectors to the entire region, COVID-19 will have a substantial impact in coming months, and more stimulus and support packages will be announced by governments in the region to offset this.

For more information on doing business in the IMEA region, visit myNZTE - our free online portal for curated, in-depth information and guidance. 

All travellers returning to New Zealand from any destination are subject to a mandatory 14-day stay at a Government-managed facility. Managed isolation charges for those returning to New Zealand have come into force from Tuesday 11 August. Find out more here.

Resources for India, Middle East and Africa

Export support
Last updated: 19 Jun 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: India overview, 18 June

NZTE's Ralph Hays speaks with Mohit Khattar, CEO of Graviss Foods, for his insights on Indian e-commerce, health and wellness, fresh produce and FMCG.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 26 May 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Saudi Arabia Dairy, 20 May

NZTE Business Development Manager Hiba Abu Reyaleh and Beachhead Advisor Graham Hamilton discuss Saudi Arabia's dairy industry. Recorded 20 May 2020.

Watch now

Document authentication requirements

Some countries in the IMEA region require export documents to receive consular or embassy authentication by an embassy accredited to the exporting country. The intent is to verify the authenticity of the documents. The movement restrictions imposed in many exporting countries in response to COVID-19 are making this requirement increasingly difficult to meet.

We are seeing a general trend for the suspension of the need for consular/embassy authentication of original documents (health and halal certification, invoices etc) and the acceptance of unauthenticated export documents for import clearance purposes. Similarly, we are also seeing a loosening of the need for export documents to be authenticated by a Chamber of Commerce in the exporting country and the acceptance of electronic copies of Certificates of Origin in lieu of signed and stamped originals.

Each of the competent authorities across the region are working quickly to adapt their requirements given the COVID-19 situation and inability to fulfil the usual process. However each situation is unique and we stress the need to confirm revised requirements for each individual country.

Market overviews


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Africa.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Bahrain.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Bangladesh.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in India.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Jordan.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Kuwait.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Lebanon.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Oman.


Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Qatar.

Saudi Arabia

Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Saudi Arabia.

Sri Lanka

Updates on COVID-19 impacts in Sri Lanka.

United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai)

Updates on COVID-19 impacts in the UAE.

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.