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Goff Welcomes European Decision on Butter

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

19 July 2006
Media statement

Goff Welcomes European Decision on Butter

Minister of Trade Phil Goff has welcomed a decision by the European Commission to amend its draft regulation suspending New Zealand butter trade to Europe.

"The new draft regulation, yet to be adopted by the full Commission, picks up the change which I urged Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel to make on our discussion on Monday night.

"The draft regulation continues to suspend the butter trade pending the drafting of new regulations to implement the European Court of Justice decision.

"However, it provides for a small but critical amendment to the regulation which mitigates the immediate effect of the suspension.

"The new provision allows butter from New Zealand which has a standards compliance certificate (IMA1) issued before 12 July 2006, and which has physically left New Zealand before that date, to be issued with an import licence.

"The significance of this is that 14,000 tonnes of New Zealand butter currently on the water or in bonded warehouses in Europe will now be issued import licenses and will be able to be sold.

"This will ensure that our product will be on the market through to October. It gives us a breathing space during which time the regulations which have been ruled invalid can be redrafted. While not an absolute guarantee, it reduces the prospect that our butter exports will be disrupted.

"The Agriculture Commissioner has, in amending the draft, acknowledged the strong argument I put to her that it was necessary to protect the legitimate expectations of the traders concerned and to provide for smoother trade flows while respecting the judgement of the Court of Justice.

"I very much welcome the good will which that reflects. It is now important that the European Commission, working together with our officials takes steps to put in place valid regulations as quickly as possible so that the suspension of trade can be lifted, " Mr Goff said.


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