New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has stated that it will soon begin accepting fresh and frozen pork imports from the United States. This is a positive development for U.S. pork exports, as currently any U.S. pork that is merchandised in New Zealand must be cooked prior to sale.
New Zealand is a small but growing market for U.S. pork. In 2010, U.S. pork exports to New Zealand totaled 15.6 million pounds valued at $19.3 million. Exports are off to a strong start in 2011, increasing 55 percent in volume and 85 percent in value through February.
Going forward, New Zealand will allow U.S. pork may be sold in fresh or frozen form, in retail-ready packages of 3 kilograms or less.
Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region, says he is hopeful for a similar change at some point in Australia, which despite similar restrictions was nearly a $150 million market for U.S. pork last year.
Audio: Joel Haggard 1 min
It is important to note that New Zealand’s policy change is not yet official, as USDA must still develop export certification measures. However, Haggard says it is an important step toward science-based market access.