New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has announced that it will soon accept fresh and frozen pork imports from the United States, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. 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. 

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, explains further details in the attached audio report. Haggard adds that 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.  

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.

Source: USMEF