Dairy imports into the European Union are likely to face tougher checks in future. EU officials are planning to harmonise' dairy import procedures. Independent dairy trade sources say, however, that they will increase the bureaucracy involved in exporting to the EU and slow down deliveries to European markets. The European Commission has been considering what is called the regularisation' of dairy imports for nearly two years, but it is now believed that the proposals are close to implementation. Most importantly, the new rules could introduce a minimum inspection rate' for all consignments. Recent discussions in the EU Dairy Management Committee have centred on the figure of 3% of any import consignment subject to checks for irregularities'. Large exporters of butter and cheese to the EU, such as New Zealand, could be seriously hit. NZ officials fear fresh red tape will obstruct deliveries to the EU, either through hidden costs or extra bureaucracy, and are likely to protest over the potential disruption of a system already littered with restrictions. {{PROVISIONS }}