Documentation issues

Apples to Russia

New Zealand apples were delayed at the Russian border in 2013 after a name change on the MPI certificates that accompanied them. On Saturday 30th March Pipfruit NZ contacted MPI about containers of apples that were held up at Vladivostok because officials refused to accept the MPI branded paper. MPI immediately approached the Russian officials through MFAT to ask that they recognise the new phytosanitary certificates. When visited by New Zealand officials it was acknowledged by the Russian officials that they had received the November letter but had overlooked it. Work by MPI and MFAT to expedite this process resulted in the consignments being released by 13th April

.While MPI does not change its name frequently changes to phytosanitary documentation or assurance process are not uncommon and it was agreed there would be merit in recording learning’s from this situation to inform the notification of future changes. 

A meeting of all parties found that  in the future :

  • MPI should consult with industry to identify the high risk periods of trade and where possible should avoid making changes during these times.
  • Positive confirmation of change recognition should be sought in the future from Russian authorities (or other high risk countries) if there is no other way to confirm that changes have been officially recognized. This incident can be used to reinforce New Zealand’s concern in this area and be used to counter Russian concerns associated with confirmation requests.
  • MPI should continue to help industry manage risk by providing exporters with the appropriate documents that can be passed on to their importers to confirm
  • that officials are aware of any future changes prior to dispatch. (In this instance MPI provided an MPI advisory letter for exporters use on its web site)
  • Sector bodies should be used to ensure exporters are aware of this documentation and should encourage its use for markets where exporters have previously experienced problems.
  • MPI and sector organisations should work together to manage risk by asking that exporters ask their importers to confirm that officials are aware of the change prior to product dispatch.
  • During any future incidents MPI will continue to provide a daily update to industry on progress and industry should inform MPI of any new developments (e.g. release of the containers) so that MPI officials can use the information to inform their discussion with officials and guide their activities
  • PMAC should carry out a risk assessment for any assurance process changes.