Tired of seeing your goods stuck at the border? A new initiative led by the APEC Business Advisory Council could have the answer By Stephen Jacobi As published in Exporter Magazine, June 2015

by | Jun 25, 2015 | Trade Working Blog

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For exporters, few things are more frustrating than having a perishable shipment held at the border, while some unforeseen glitch in the paperwork is resolved. Time costs money, and negotiating your way through complex or incompatible regulations and processes can be a bureaucratic nightmare.

A new initiative led by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) aims to streamline the flow of exports in the APEC region, through the use of global data standards (GDS).

GDS is about standardising the information that travels with a product through the supply chain. Exporters know exactly what product origin information and documentation they need to supply. Importing authorities can process that documentation quickly and with confidence that the goods comply with all relevant standards and regulations.

The primary aim of GDS is to eliminate choke points, ensuring that goods move swiftly and efficiently through borders and into distributors’ hands. GDS can also enhance consumer confidence, by making it easier to verify product origins and provide paddock-to-plate tracing.

ABAC New Zealand’s GDS initiative was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Customs NZ and GS1, each of whom are working with their counterparts around the APEC region to develop pilot projects. The results of the GDS pilot projects will be shared across the APEC economies with the aim of further streamlining trade across the region.

One of the proposed pilot projects concerns the export of frozen and dried deer velvet to the Republic of Korea, where it is prized for its medicinal properties and used in a growing range of supplements and energy drinks. Deer velvet is a $33 million export market and the high value of this low volume export depends in part upon its New Zealand provenance and the accompanying assurances of quality and food safety. The pilot project will explore the use of radio-frequency identification tags, or RFID, to enable track-and-trace throughout the supply chain. The costs associated with RFID are reasonable, and the potential returns associated with building and protecting the New Zealand brand and stimulating further demand, are high.

A second project in development with Seafood New Zealand, concerns the export of frozen fish to China for processing, followed by subsequent re-export to Hong Kong and the United States. The traceability requirements to verify a fish’s journey from trawler to plate are complex and the project could have wide-reaching benefits for the seafood industry.

The GDS initiative is just one of a number of ABAC work streams currently underway. ABAC NZ is about to begin consultation with New Zealand-based services exporters on the liberalisation of trade in services. The aim is to find out what challenges services exporters are facing, and how ABAC NZ can best contribute to the development of a new services agenda in the APEC region.

ABAC has a strong track record of elevating business-driven initiatives onto the policy agenda. We regularly consult with New Zealand businesses to find where they are struggling and how we can work with policy makers to enhance the flow of trade in the APEC region.

About ABAC

ABAC is group of senior business people appointed by their respective APEC governments, who meet quarterly to discuss regional business priorities and ways to streamline trade and investment. New Zealand’s current members are Katherine Rich, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council; Tony Nowell, former Chief Executive of Zespri; Wayne Boyd, former Chair of Meridian Energy and Auckland International Airport; and Stephen Jacobi as alternate member.

To find out more about ABAC NZ’s work, please visit www.nzibf.co.nz , or contact Stephen directly – Stephen@jacobi.co.nz

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