Exporting food to the United States will be a smoother process for New Zealand companies following the signing of a ground-breaking food safety agreement.
The Ministry for Primary Industries signed a Food Safety Systems Recognition Arrangement with the US Food and Drug Administration in Washington DC this week.
MPI deputy director of general standards Carol Barnao says it is the first time the USFDA has recognised another country as providing comparable degree of food safety assurance.
Ms Barnao said the agreement lays the platform for an increase in trade between the countries, because it provides greater certainty, and increased trust in the New Zealand system.
Seafood New Zealand market access manager Alastair McFarlane said the main benefit will be that the deal will speed up the process of getting products into the US market and reduce the costs involved.
However the main factors in increasing exports remain competitiveness and perception of quality, he said.