Industry trade

Industry body in disbelief at government’s inconsistent approach to trade barriers

The industry body representing more than 80% of this country’s dietary supplement and natural health product companies says it is incredulous at the government’s announcement that it will invest $20.3 million in modernizing the New Zealand’s trade certification system to reinforce our global reputation for reliable food production for export.

According to Samantha Gray, Government Affairs Manager of Natural Health Products NZ, although this announcement seems positive on the face of it, the government continues to take an inconsistent approach to helping exporters.

“On the one hand, the government is investing in modernizing the trade certification system, but on the other hand, it is refusing to address other major barriers to trade that it has created. These barriers have already cost this country’s natural health product exporters millions in lost orders and will continue to do so until the problem is fixed.

Food Safety Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall’s announcement of the trade certification system upgrade said: “This Budget 2022 investment helps facilitate New Zealand’s trade with other countries. , which is extremely important to our economy and the well-being of our communities.

Ms. Gray says the statement is ironic given that trade barriers arising from current rules prohibit New Zealand-based exporters of natural health products from providing labeling information for products that comply with regulations in their destination markets.

“These rules apply to products that are only sold in export markets, but our repeated requests for export-only certification have fallen on deaf ears. Years of inaction to resolve this problem means exports are $500 million a year behind where they should be.

“Unfortunately, Minister Verrall has the power to make things right for exporters in our sector, yet she has washed her hands of the problem,” said Ms. Gray.

She says solving the problem requires Medsafe to recognize the integrity of key export market regulatory systems, and MPI and Medsafe to work together to develop an export-only exemption and certification solution.

“This could be solved easily and inexpensively if New Zealand regulators changed the regulations to allow dietary supplements for export only. The government recognizes that there is a clear and quick way to get there, but refuses to act.

“We call on Minister Verrall to ask officials to quickly resolve this trade barrier issue,” Ms Gray said.

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