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Seafood Exporters Urged to Use Trade Channels

Seafood Exporters Urged to Use Proper Trade Channels

New Zealand seafood exporters are being reminded of the need to follow proper export channels in getting their products to China.

“China is an important long-term market for New Zealand. We need to treat it with respect. It is important that Chinese consumers and suppliers get the best quality New Zealand products from legitimate channels,” says Merv Stark, New Zealand’s Senior Trade Commissioner for North Asia (based in Hong Kong).

“Our challenge is that once products leave New Zealand, there is no way of tracking the channels they go through. We are aware of a low volume of product ending up being smuggled into China and that New Zealand companies may not know that this is happening,” says Mr Stark.

Mr Stark points out that Hong Kong importers with whom New Zealand exporters trade, have strong legitimate channels of distribution built up over decades and that the volume of illegal New Zealand seafood making its way into China is low.

“We have been monitoring the volume for some time and have had discussions with other Government agencies and industry groups in New Zealand and co-operated fully with Chinese authorities in an effort to further minimise grey channel trade.”

Mr Stark says that there also discrepancies between New Zealand outbound export figures and inbound import figures for individual countries.

“This is an issue that is not unique to New Zealand as almost every country uses different measurement and identification criteria. The discrepancies imply that the difference in legal and illegal New Zealand imports into China may not be that large.”

Mr Stark recommends seafood exporters take advantage of the many opportunities that exist when dealing directly with mainland China.

“Dealing directly with business contacts in China offers New Zealand many advantages. It allows our companies to establish partnerships with Chinese companies that are experienced operators in the market, it allows them to maintain their products’ brand integrity and helps them build a platform for future growth.”

“It takes patience and hard work to succeed in the China market and we need to ensure that New Zealand’s image and reputation as high-quality, innovative supplier of seafood products is maintained.”

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