Sanitary and phytosanitary

Find out how you can comply with New Zealand’s sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) chapter of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) sets out how the UK and New Zealand will facilitate trade whilst protecting human, animal and plant life, health, and commitments to cooperate on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). SPS measures ensure that food traded is safe to eat, and that animals and plants are free from pests and disease. This agreement aims to enhance communication and promote greater transparency between the UK and New Zealand so that SPS measures do not create unjustified barriers to trade. The UK already has a separate high standard Sanitary Agreement with New Zealand which covers and effectively facilitates our trade in animal products, so the UK-New Zealand FTA SPS chapter focuses on plants, plant products, and processed plant-based foods.

This FTA protects the rights and freedom of both countries to regulate to uphold standards. Both the UK and New Zealand agree the importance of independent SPS regimes. The UK-New Zealand FTA will not change the SPS rules of either market but will put in place structures and commitments to allow our Governments to work together to tackle SPS-related market access barriers and improve understanding of each other’s systems. This will help businesses move agri-food goods between our two markets.

The agreement contains the following commitments to ease potential trade frictions arising from SPS measures, helping UK producers and traders to take advantage of new market opportunities:

Recognition of pest freedom

Enhanced provisions on phytosanitary regionalisation will provide greater transparency, clarity, and timeliness when one country puts in place measures to control pest outbreaks. This will help avoid unnecessary trade restrictions and facilitate the safe movement of goods between both countries where a pest is present but safely managed.

Antimicrobial resistance 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to human and animal health and both the agricultural and aquacultural sectors both can contribute to this health threat. The chapter provides clear and ambitious commitments to cooperate to reduce the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance through bilateral and multilateral engagement. We have committed to cooperate to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics in the rearing of animals for food production and exchange information and expertise on antimicrobial resistance including to support domestic harmonisation of surveillance data.

Import checks and audits/verifications

The text sets out principles for both parties to follow regarding import checks and notification in cases of non-compliance at the border, enhancing transparency and certainty. This will facilitate trade in agri-food products.

It includes commitments on how the UK and NZ can undertake audits to maintain confidence in each other’s SPS regimes and preserves the UK’s right to carry out import checks to maintain our biosecurity when goods from New Zealand arrive in the UK. The FTA sets out commitments on conducting transparent, proportionate, and efficient audits taking into account relevant international standards and guidance.

The deal provides opportunity for cooperation on export certification including a commitment to work together to progress the use of electronic certification. This will reduce administrative processes and improve document security – enabling smoother trade for businesses.

Trade conditions 

We have agreed provisions which enhance the transparency and timeliness of processes related to market access procedures and trade conditions. This will help get new and current products to market.

Emergency measures

The deal requires both parties to make clear, rapid notification of any emergency SPS measures, which sometimes need to be implemented at short notice and can disrupt trade, and to take account of goods already in transit when doing so. Any emergency measures will be notified as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after decision is made.

Consultation and recourse

The chapter gives us new levers to address SPS market access barriers. This includes clear governance structures for New Zealand and the UK to engage with each other through the SPS Sub-Committee and Technical Working Groups, as well as the ability to hold Technical Consultations to resolve issues effectively.

Report a trade barrier

Business are encouraged to tell the UK government if you are facing a new SPS trade barrier.

Useful resources

The importation of some products to New Zealand, including many agri-food products, is subject to certain biosecurity import conditions. Some products are not permitted entry while other products are only allowed into New Zealand subject to meeting import conditions, including a requirement for an import permit. You can visit the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries for more information on biosecurity requirements.

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