Dubai, New Zealand roll out electronic trade processes
Dawood Al Hajri, Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Matthew Hawkins at the event. Khalid Sharif Al Awadhi and Kevin McKenna, New Zealand Consul General; signed the agreement. - Supplied photo
Dubai and New Zealand have initiated an electronic exchange of export certificate process that will provide a simpler, more time effective and sustainable method to facilitate two-way trade currently estimated at around $2 billion.
The initiative, which is set to further enhance trade of animal products between the two nations, will commence with a three-month pilot programme in April.
A statement from the New Zealand side said the pilot, a first for the UAE, was agreed by New Zealand's Consul General Kevin McKenna and Khalid Sharif Al Awadhi, CEO of Dubai Municipality for Health, Safety and Environmentat the Dubai Municipality this week.
The signing ceremony was attended by Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, and Matthew Hawkins, New Zealand Ambassador to the UAE.
The trial will contribute towards Dubai's goal of being a paperless government by 2021 and is expected that the use of paperless certification will be rolled out long-term. This was made possible by an arrangement between the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and Ministry of Climate Change and Environment that was in place since 2016.
The arrangement recognises that New Zealand's biosecurity and food safety regulatory systems meet the required parameters under the UAE law. New Zealand was the first country to have this recognition, the statement said.
"Electronic exchange of export certificates - paperless certification - will provide a simpler, more time effective and sustainable method to facilitate trade between New Zealand and Dubai. Current paper certificates result in a much slower process with importers required to present physical documents to border clearance officials in the importing country," it said.
Khalid Sharif Al Awadhi, chief executive officer of Dubai Municipality for Health, Safety and Environment, said Dubai Municipality is the first government agency to link and approve e-health certificates for food.
"The system will simplify and streamline border clearance procedures and make it smoother by reducing time spent in document inspections and for the process of virtual checking and limit the rejection or delay in the release of food shipments exported from New Zealand, in addition to supporting Dubai government's move towards the transformation of Dubai into a Smart City."
Kevin McKenna said the UAE and New Zealand are important partners. "We both share a common vision on pursuing trade with trusted partners that contributes to the lives of all. Making it easier to do business is at the heart of this paperless certification pilot and an exciting step forward for high-quality, safe, nutritious and delicious halal New Zealand food."
Through paperless certification, export certificates will be securely transferred from the New Zealand government's e-Cert platform to the Dubai Municipality system in real-time, reducing any potential fraudulent use of paper certificates and helping to improve import efficiency during border clearance.The electronic certification platform incorporates firewall protection and full data encryption to provide protection from unauthorised access and use.
New Zealand is a leader in food safety and product traceability, and a trusted supplier of high quality and safe food to consumers in more than 100 countries.
Trade volume between the UAE and New Zealand has amounted to $1.91 billion in 2017, making the UAE as one of the most important trading partners to New Zealand., according to the UAE Embassy in New Zealand. The UAE is New Zealand's 10th largest trading partner, and total exports to the UAE grew 47 per cent between 2016 and 2017.
The New Zealand government has allocated Dh140 million to its pavilion at Expo 2020, demonstrating New Zealand's keenness to develop and strengthen trade and investment ties between the two countries.