Iran has signed a new agreement to resume sheep and beef imports from New Zealand and discussed possible kiwifruit and shrimp exports to that country.
New Zealand Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Iranian Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati witnessed the signing of the agreement which provides for chilled and frozen sheep and beef exports to resume with Iran, a statement said.
Hojjati touched on capacities existing between the two countries for cage fish farming and marketing cooperation on exports to other countries.
“The determination of the two countries for development of constructive relationships is serious and Iran is ready to cooperate with New Zealand in such fields as research, exchange of germplasm, pasture pest management and hybrid seed production,” he said on Sunday.
“Joint investment in cage fish farming and marketing for exports of products to other countries can be another field for cooperation between Iran and New Zealand,” he added.
According to the IRNA news agency, the two sides also planned to sign two documents on commercial veterinary and gardening development.
The agreements were signed between Iranian Veterinary Organization and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, with Minister Guy hailing them as “a crucial step for New Zealand meat companies as they look to re-enter the Iranian market."
Meat is New Zealand's second-largest commodity export after dairy, and was worth $5.92 billion in 2016, according to the country’s media.
Its meat exports to Iran failed to pick up following the lifting of sanctions last year because Iran required its vets to be present at the time of processing, while New Zealand meat exporters rely on their own workers for halal standards.
New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri International and Iran's Ministry of Agriculture meanwhile signed a statement of intent outlining undertakings to further explore commercial opportunities in Iran, Guy said.
Iran has well-established kiwifruit orchards and supply chains and produces the fruit in New Zealand's off-season, he said.
New Zealand sent its Minister of Trade Todd McClay to Tehran in December at the head of a senior-level business delegation to look into the prospects of reviving trade with the Islamic Republic after a hiatus of over a decade.
McClay said at the time that the lifting of sanctions on Iran had created new opportunities in the education, construction, food and beverage, energy, forestry, specialized manufacturing and services sectors.
According to McClay, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif presented a $1 billion prospect for New Zealand’s renewed trade with the Islamic Republic during his visit to the country last year.