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10 October 2001
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and their Iranian counterparts have signed a memorandum of understanding that will provide a major boost for New Zealand exporters to Iran.
MAF Animal Products Group Director Tony Zohrab says the document will mean simpler and more secure access to Iran for New Zealand animal product.
The memorandum of understanding covers conditions for the export to Iran of New Zealand primary products including meat, dairy products, fish, wool, skins and hides, and has received high-profile coverage in Iran, including television coverage.
Dr Zohrab, who returned from Teheran last week, says he and his colleague (Market Access Counsellor Neil Armitage) were very warmly received by their Iranian hosts, who also see the memorandum of understanding signing as a significant breakthrough.
"Very few people are visiting that part of the world right now," Dr Zohrab said. "The Iranians were extremely appreciative of our determination to press on with this work in the face of what's been happening in the region. It's been a very good development for our exporters, because it means their access to Iranian markets is now much more secure."
Dr Zohrab says the agreement means that the Iran Veterinary Organisation (IVO) has accepted the integrity of New Zealand's food safety and animal product systems and the export assurances provided.
The breakthrough agreement follows months of negotiation between MAF officials and their Iranian counterparts.
The Iranian authorities are also interested in New Zealand's "E-Cert" electronic certification system, Dr Zohrab says. The system is an electronically-managed New Zealand Government guarantee that exports meet the health and food safety conditions of importing countries, and is replacing a much-more-cumbersome paper-based system.
Canada is the first country to hook up to E-Cert, and Mr Zohrab says Iran will be the second.
"The system means that in the event of a problem, a food recall or the like, it is possible to trace the product to its origins in a matter of a few minutes," he said.
"The Iran Vet Organisation people were especially impressed with the way E-Cert's security helps combat fraudulent use of export certificates," Dr Zohrab said.
For more information contact:
Tony Zohrab, Director Animal Products Group, MAF