An international study of trade has revealed about a third of New Zealand's imports of intermediate goods are used to make export products and services.
Trade Minister Tim Groser said the study confirms that putting up barriers to imports would harm exporters.
The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organisation have analysed world trade flows in 2009.
Mr Groser, who was in Paris for the launch of the new database, said it makes clear that countries have to be able to import goods at competitive prices if they are to benefit from global trade.
In New Zealand's case, the study found service industries are also important to the success of the export sector.
Mr Groser said services represent 46% of the value of New Zealand's exports when the value they add to manufactured exports is taken into account.