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Security of New Zealand trade under review

Security of New Zealand trade under review

Government planning aimed at securing New Zealand’s trade in the changed world environment is now underway, Customs Minister Rick Barker said today.

Mr Barker said international terrorist activity means New Zealand and its trading partners, particularly the United States, are looking for increased assurance about the security of goods being shipped to them.

“We’re looking at a Government-business partnership to maintain New Zealand’s international reputation as a safe and secure trading partner.

“The focus of border security is moving. Importing countries now want to know the supply chain is secure from the point of origin of the goods, rather than focusing on when goods reach them.”

Mr Barker said Customs was developing a proposal for a secure export partnership scheme, which when formalised would bring New Zealand in line with new internationally recognised security measures across the entire supply chain.

“We anticipate that this would facilitate cargo clearance at the destination by minimising the need for security-related intervention.”

Customs is leading the development of this proposal in close cooperation with industry and other Government agencies, in particular the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Food Safety Authority (FSA).

The agencies are taking a whole-of-Government approach to managing issues raised by overseas agencies such as the US Customs Service and US Food and Drug Administration.

“Where possible we want to utilise existing systems, such as food safety procedures, to minimize the red tape for our export sector.”

Mr Barker said he anticipated that the partnership would see individual exporters and Customs signing an agreement that included:

Providing official assurance around the packing and contents of containers from a security standpoint The application of a tamper-indicator seal Seal checks at transfer points Transport and storage according to agreed security plans or standards

“There is still a lot of detailed work to be done, and Customs will be developing pilots with selected individual exporters, to ensure the scheme is workable and practical.”

New Zealand has signed up to international initiatives to improve supply chain security, including the APEC STAR (Secure Trade in the Apec Region) initiatives.

The proposed Secure Export Scheme is one part of a comprehensive New Zealand Government set of responses to reduce vulnerability to increased terrorist activity.

The legal framework for the Secure Export Scheme will be set out in the Border Security Bill, due to be introduced to Parliament shortly.

Other legislative measures to improve New Zealand’s security are contained in the Terrorism Suppression Act that became law in October 2002, the Counter Terrorism Bill, currently before Parliament, and the Maritime Security Bill which is due to be introduced by the Minister of Transport.

The Government also increased funding for relevant agencies. In last year’s Budget.

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