DCANZ welcomes move to cut export red-tape

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The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) welcomes the Government’s move to reduce red-tape for exporters. The proposals to remove the requirement for individual exemptions will remove a long-standing and self-inflicted barrier to trade.”

The need for exemptions has been a handbrake on dairy exporters pursuing new value-added markets and product opportunities” says DCANZ Chairman Matt Bolger.

Dairy exporters currently need to apply for an exemption where the composition of the product being exported differs from the relevant New Zealand standard. Compositional requirements for products often differ between New Zealand and export markets with each country’s food regulators determining the appropriate standards for product to be sold in their domestic market. For example, the levels of vitamin D differs between the New Zealand and China infant formula standards, due to the differing levels that infants in each country receive from other sources.

DCANZ has advocated that the New Zealand requirement for exporters to apply for exemptions unnecessarily second guesses the regulatory competence of other countries. New Zealand now has over 400 market and parameter specific exemptions for dairy exports with the potential for each of these to require updating when either New Zealand or third country standards change.

Exemptions requirements overlook the fact that New Zealand dairy exporters operate under independently verified risk management programmes. The Animal Products Act 1999 requires that dairy exporter risk management programmes document the measures taken, in compliance with New Zealand processing requirements, to produce safe and suitable products which meet the relevant country of sale requirements.

“Our dairy exporters invest a lot in building close customer relationships, research and science, and understanding customer and consumer needs to drive product innovation. Sometimes the exemptions process takes months which has meant the companies can’t respond quickly to customer needs, for reasons that aren’t necessary. Addressing this will help increase export value, create great products for customers, and grow returns to NZ,” says Bolger.

New Zealand is unique in the exemption requirements that it currently imposes upon its dairy exporters.

“We are pleased the Government has listened to dairy exporters concerns. Addressing them will ensure New Zealand has a regulatory framework that better facilitates the export of high-quality, safe and suitable dairy products so dairy companies can continue growing their contribution to the economy.”

Dairy exports account for one in every four dollars New Zealand earns from all goods and services trade.

DCANZ will be assessing and providing feedback on the options put forward in the consultation document.