The antipodean nation may have lost out to it’s bigger neighbour in access to the lucrative Chinese meat market, but they have made inroads to the large beef and sheep meat market in Iran. Iran is the second largest economy in the region and the trade deal signals the start of better relations between the two countries, which had soured in the past due to disagreements over halal standards and sanctions imposed by Iran as well as international policy issues. The Iranian imposed sanctions were lifted in 2016, but New Zealand had also imposed sanctions on trade with Iran at a higher level as part of an international move to encourage the country to scale back it’s nuclear development programme in 2015.

The meat trade between Iran and New Zealand has a long and complicated history, with exports at an all time high during the mid 1980s. In 1998 trade all but ceased as prices were better in the EU and North American markets, so this new agreement heralds the start of a much better working relationship.

Now, the two nations are even looking at how kiwi fruit imports can be arranged. Iran has established kiwi fruit orchards and grows the produce in the off season in New Zealand, so there is good ground for the two countries to negotiate together on the global supply and trade of the fruit. The signing of an agreement in February allowed meat trade to resume, and Wellington based Taylor Preston will be processing and packing the order at the end of May.

There are some challenges to navigate, namely the financial transactions and division of export deals among NZ based businesses, but overall this is great news for farmers and meat processors in New Zealand.

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