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Dubai Municipality, New Zealand Ministry sign cooperation agreement

The Dubai Municipality has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries on the exchange of electronic data for issuing certificates, and to expedite clearance at the border for food shipments imported from New Zealand that enter the UAE through the ports of entry into the emirate of Dubai.

The Dubai Municipality has become the first municipality in the region to approve and link e-health certificates for imported food with New Zealand.

The signing of the MoU is in line with the municipality's strategic objectives of strengthening relationships with local and international partners, enhancing confidence in food safety and building a happy and sustainable city. The signing ceremony was attended by Dr. Thani bin 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 MoU was signed by Khalid Sharif Al Awadhi, CEO of Dubai Municipality for Health, Safety and Environment, and Kevin McKenna, the Commercial Commissioner and Consul-General of New Zealand in Dubai, representing the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries.

The joint committee of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries has determined that the Health and Phytosanitary certificates for exports from New Zealand should be transferred to the Automated data exchange in order to achieve the vision of the Government of Dubai to end the era of government paper transactions by issuing the last paper transaction at the beginning of 2021. The pilot project will be implemented in the emirate as a first step.

After the success of the project, the electronic data exchange will be expanded to the rest of the UAE. The municipality, in cooperation with the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries, is implementing these pledges and launching a pilot project to demonstrate the benefits of automated data exchange. The municipality will also study opportunities to accelerate the clearance of New Zealand products covered by MoUs between the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Al Awadhi said the municipality is the first government agency to link and approve e-health certificates for food, which will reduce the potential for cheating or fraud, and create direct contact between the municipality and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries to resolve the issues related to the timely release of food shipments from New Zealand.

The pilot project will initially cover meat and dairy products covered by MoUs between the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. It is possible to come to an agreement between the Ministry of Primary Industries and the municipality to include other products in this pilot project. It will also include the exchange of automated electronic data for the issuance of Halal certificates for meat and dairy products by an accredited authority from the UAE within the E-cert programme.

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