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Canada considers using NZ food export system

7 May 2001

Canada considers using award-winning New Zealand food export system

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry trade officials are talking to agriculture and trade officials in Canada about New Zealand's award-winning electronic food export certification system.

The system was introduced to provide government to government assurance of the compliance of New Zealand’s meat and seafood export products and to help reduce instances of fraud in the export meat and seafood sectors.

Known as e-cert, the system has just won a Govis (Government Information System Managers' Forum) award for leading-edge innovation. The award was presented to project manager, Ashley Mudford, at a function in Wellington.

Nominated by peers in the IT industry and judged by e-government representatives, the awards come four years after MAF Food reacted to an EU directive that all exporting nationals should go digital on export certification.

While the instruction was rescinded shortly after, MAF Food decided to press on with the system.

"Obvious benefits could be seen," says Ashley Mudford. “Industry could see significant improvements with increased efficiency in documentation, quicker turnaround with product approvals, reduction in errors, and greater integration with other systems such as MAF and Customs. Other benefits include the reduction of fraud, ability to respond quickly to changes in market requirements, and reducing the total cost of certification. It is part of a suite of options to maintain and enhance trade.

He says other countries around the world are looking closely at the benefits of this system, including the United States, Korea, Taiwan and Dubai. In addition, a Dairy Electronic Certification programme is expected to be in production mid 2001. Meat, seafood and dairy exports comprise about 40% of all New Zealand exports.

MAF's Director of Animal Products, Tony Zohrab and other MAF officials are currently in the United States and Canada discussing E-cert. Included in the discussions are electronic signatures, exchanging of data between systems, and the New Zealand official assurance regime as well as finding ways for E-cert to be utilised. Canada is scheduled to start using E-cert in early June.

For more information contact Ashley Mudford, Tel. 04 498 9637

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