An export certificate is a type of official assurance, providing an importing country with confirmation from the New Zealand Government (MPI) that your product or commodity meets certain standards and requirements.
Like a passport
An export certificate is essentially a passport to help your products clear importing country borders. They are required for, or help with, border clearances – but are not a guarantee that any particular goods will be granted access to any overseas market. Note that not all countries or products require them.
Certificates confirm compliance
If required, the export certificate accompanies a consignment to its destination country, confirming the consignment's compliance with specific standards and requirements. An approved export certificate is provided to the appropriate border agency of the destination country – in either electronic or paper form – to help clear your product into that country.
The information on an export certificate varies, depending on the product or commodity and the destination country, but it may include:
- the country of origin of the product and its ingredients
- treatment or other processes the product has undergone, prior to export
- the microbiological status of the product
- the product's health status – for example, whether or not a certain animal or plant disease is present in New Zealand
- in the case of live animals and germplasm, details of testing, treatment, pre-export isolation, country of origin and health status of the animal.
Export certificates are issued by MPI when MPI is satisfied your commodity complies with relevant regulatory and administrative requirements. Specific requirements depend on the type of commodity and the destination country. Exporters should be familiar with standards and requirements for their products:
- Plant Export Certification Standards – for plant and forest products
- Importing Countries Phytosanitary Requirements – for plant and forest products
- OMARs and Export Certificate templates – for other products like food or when exporting live animals
Many export certificates are processed through MPI's electronic certification (E-cert) systems. These online systems are used by exporters, verifiers, MPI staff, and others in the export chain to ensure that products are eligible for certification and to issue the certificates themselves.
Other certification is undertaken through paper-based systems but is still typically printed on security paper.
Another type of certificate is a Free Sale Certificate, which attests that the product is able to be freely sold in New Zealand. The importer in the destination country is able to tell you if a Free Sale Certificate is required.
Fees and charges apply for using the electronic certification systems.
Different certification systems for different products
AP E-cert is used for export certificates for meat, seafood, dairy, and other animal products.
Some destination (importing) countries require MPI to issue a phytosanitary certificate for some plants, timber and plant and wood products exported from New Zealand. The certificates confirm the importing country's phytosanitary requirements are met.
You can apply for phytosanitary certificates using MPI's online service – ePhyto. You have to register to use ePhyto.
Wine E-Cert is used for export certificates for New Zealand grape wine. This is a password-protected web service.
To get access to Wine E-Cert for your company and for company users, you'll need to fill out the user registration form, then follow the process outlined in the guide for Accessing Wine E-Cert.
Download the Accessing Wine E-Cert guide [PDF, 918 KB]
Once you've registered, you can access Wine E-Cert.
Live animals and germplasm system
Export certificates for live animals, live bees, live poultry and germplasm are issued through a paper-based system. Exporters need to complete a form to get approval to access the templates.
Approval to access Export Certificate templates [DOCX, 810 KB]
Agricultural compounds, veterinary medicines, and vertebrate toxic agents that you want to export from New Zealand may need to be certified under the ACVM Act and Regulations.