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New Zealand/EU Veterinary Agreement Official

25 January 2003

New Zealand/EU Veterinary Agreement Official

A provisional Veterinary Agreement between New Zealand and the European Union is now official.

The Agreement, which simplifies the sanitary measures for the trade of animal products between New Zealand and the EU, will take effect from February 1.

This means the European Union will accept New Zealand food safety requirements and animal health assurances are equivalent to their own and vice versa.

An exchange of "notes verbale" was carried out in Brussels on Friday afternoon.

Agriculture and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton and Food Safety Minister (with responsibility for official health certification of animal products exports) Annette King, said they were delighted the agreement was finally official.

"This agreement will strengthen New Zealand's trading relationship with the EU. It's an important development in New Zealand's bilateral relationship with the EU," Mr Sutton said.

While the agreement has been in place since 1997, it has only been provisional. This formal Veterinary Agreement cements in place the benefits already enjoyed by New Zealand and places our exports to Europe on a much firmer footing.

Europe is New Zealand's largest market for agricultural exports. Exports to the EU of sheepmeat alone earned New Zealand over NZ$1.4 billion in the year to June 2002. Dairy exports earned New Zealand $725 million.

Ms King said the formal agreement would benefit exporters and processors and, through that, producers.

"It will reduce the need to replicate systems making the exporting of animal products to Europe a lot easier. It has taken a huge amount of time and effort to get this Agreement formally in place and it will be very welcome. There are substantial future benefits to be gained from this Agreement."


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