The decision should significantly smooth the path for New Zealand meat exporters eyeing up the Egyptian market.
Prior to this agreement, Egyptian authorities would inspect every single meat premises before it could be approved to sell food to Egypt. But no longer. Simplifying the export process should allow more New Zealand meat companies to build new business links with Egypt.
The agreement between both countries was agreed based on a number of factors, including New Zealand's regulatory system, track record of exporting safe meat to 120 countries, and prior audits by the Egyptian authorities.
New Zealand, a major lamb exporter, sold around NZ$52m ($35m) of meat to Egypt in the year to 30 June 2017. Government officials have claimed Egypt’s decision should pave the way for more sales next year.
‘World class’ safety standards
Martyn Dunne, director-general of New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, said the decision demonstrated the faith Egypt had in the country’s food safety standards.
“This the first time Egypt has agreed this type of arrangement with any country and it is a clear demonstration of the strength of New Zealand’s meat regulatory programme and our good relationship with Egypt that has developed through years of export, engagement and audit,” he said.
Dunne, who described the country’s regulations on meat production as “world class”, said he was pleased they met Egyptian government expectations.
“We are committed to growing this important trade, a key part of which is through simplifying exporting processes. This arrangement is a great example,” added Dunne.
Dunne and Egyptian deputy minister for agriculture Dr Mona Mehrez signed the arrangement in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.