Exporting during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has made some temporary changes to exporting processes and systems because of COVID-19. These are to ensure we can best support your business during the pandemic. Find out about the changes.

Our priorities during COVID-19

We're working hard to keep exports going during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions about verification, contact your current verifier, or email the relevant MPI team:

PlantExports@mpi.govt.nz

Organics@mpi.govt.nz

Wine.Query@mpi.govt.nz

Food.Assurance@mpi.govt.nz

Can businesses sell foods intended for export on the domestic market?

If the export-intended products meet New Zealand domestic requirements, these can be sold in New Zealand. If the products do not meet New Zealand domestic requirements but are safe and suitable with basic labelling information in English available, producers can contact MPI to discuss their options by emailing foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz

Recommendations and export process changes

Check these export process changes for wine and plant products, along with recommendations to help minimise any delay with export certification for animal and organic products.

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Wine exports

Export wine certification

If movement restrictions are put in place in New Zealand due to COVID-19, MPI has a temporary alternative process to ensure wine exports can continue while helping to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread. The temporary alternative process outlined here takes effect when any region of New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 3 or 4.

These changes have been implemented through the requirements document.

New Zealand Grape Wine Export Eligibility Requirements 2020 [PDF, 263 KB]

Minimising delays

To minimise delays to your export eligibility or export consignment application, take care when entering details into Wine E-Cert. Corrections to export documents for EU and UK consignments may take longer than usual to complete due to COVID-19 management in those markets.

Sensory evaluation process

MPI will continue to ensure your wine is assessed to demonstrate it is free from obvious fault (the sensory process). The process we apply will depend on the COVID-19 Alert Level that is in force.

Sensory evaluation process for COVID-19 Alert Level 3 or 4

The temporary sensory evaluation process below will apply when any part of New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 3 or 4. Experienced winemakers must provide a declaration that their wine is free from obvious fault.

Guidance for temporary Sensory evaluation process [PDF, 579 KB]

This process can be used up to 28 calendar days after all of New Zealand moves out of COVID-19 Alert Level 3 or 4.

Applicants presenting wines for export eligibility approval must complete the WA91 form and email it to the Wine Export Certification Service (WECS) at wecs@nzwine.com

Include photographs of the sample that clearly show:

  • the wine sample (WS) number from Wine E-Cert
  • the wine batch (WB) number from Wine E-Cert
  • the wine company's name
  • the vintage, variety, and winemaker reference
  • the bottler reference (lot number), on the bottle or label.

Applicants must retain 2 reference samples of the wine for at least 2 years. Do not send physical samples to WECS for sensory evaluation during this time.

WA91 export Wine Certification: Free from obvious fault declaration [DOCX, 247 KB]

Sensory evaluation process for COVID-19 Alert Levels 1 or 2

During COVID-19 Alert Levels 1 or 2, sensory evaluation panels can convene safely.

Panels will only resume 28 calendar days after all of New Zealand moves out of COVID-19 Alert Level 3 or 4 and into Level 2 or 1. This gives exporters time to adjust to the timeframes required for the sensory evaluation panels to resume.

WECS will tell exporters the dates from which samples for sensory evaluation panels will be accepted, and when applications submitted via WA91 declarations will cease.

Note the new WECS address for samples:

Wine Export Certification Service
Level 4, 5–7 Kingdon Street
Newmarket
Auckland.

WSMP verification for export

If your verifier cannot complete your scheduled verification due to COVID-19, MPI will ensure you can continue to export. We have given recognised agencies guidance including the options available when verifiers cannot perform an on-site verification.

If you have questions about an upcoming verification, talk to your verifier.

Contact the wine assurance team

If you have any questions, email wine.query@mpi.govt.nz

Animal product exports

AP E-Cert system

MPI will continue to provide export certification. The AP E-Cert system has significant business continuity plans to keep operating.

Submitting requests for certificates

Due to COVID-19 causing flight delays and cancellations, there may be delays clearing product into export markets. For example, where sea freight consignments arrive prior to the arrival of the original paper certificates.

To help minimise any possible delays to product clearance upon arrival, we strongly recommend:

  • making requests for export certification in a timely manner to ensure that the certificate can accompany the consignment
  • carefully checking the information on certificate requests to ensure it is accurate. This will reduce the number of resubmissions.

MPI is engaging with other markets to facilitate efficient trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document F12/20 has more information.

F12/20: Export and import certification during the COVID-19 lockdown period [PDF, 176 KB]

Contact the food assurance team

If you have any questions, email food.assurance@mpi.govt.nz

Plant exports

ePhyto system

MPI will continue to provide export certification. The ePhyto system has significant business continuity plans to keep this system operating.

Submitting requests for certificates

Due to COVID-19 causing flight delays and cancellations, there may be delays clearing product into export markets. For example, where sea freight consignments arrive prior to the arrival of the original paper certificates.

To help minimise any possible delays to product clearance upon arrival, we strongly recommend:

  • making requests for export certification in a timely manner to ensure that the certificate can accompany the consignment
  • carefully checking the information on certificate requests to ensure it is accurate. This will reduce the number of resubmissions.

MPI is engaging with other markets to facilitate efficient trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document F12/20 has more information.

F12/20: Export and import certification during the COVID-19 lockdown period [PDF, 176 KB]

Contact the plant exports and plant assurance teams

If you have any questions, email:

plantassurance@mpi.govt.nz

plantexports@mpi.govt.nz

Organic product exports

Official organic assurances, including certificates of inspection

MPI will continue to provide export certification for organic exports.

Submitting requests for certificates

Due to COVID-19 causing flight delays and cancellations, there may be delays clearing product into export markets. For example, where sea freight consignments arrive prior to the arrival of the original paper certificates.

To help minimise any possible delays to product clearance upon arrival, we strongly recommend:

  • making requests for export certification in a timely manner to ensure that the certificate can accompany the consignment
  • carefully checking the information on certificate requests to ensure it is accurate. This will reduce the number of resubmissions.

MPI is engaging with other markets to facilitate efficient trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document F12/20 has more information.

F12/20: Export and import certification during the COVID-19 lockdown period [PDF, 176 KB]

Contact the organics team

If you have any questions, email organics@mpi.govt.nz

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