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China agrees to register NZ meat plants

China agrees to register NZ meat plants

Advice from China that it will register all 26 New Zealand integrated meat premises wanting to export beef and sheepmeat to China is very good news for meat exporters, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said this was a good outcome for New Zealand.

Registration means that the integrated plants concerned will now have more certain access to the Chinese market and be able to export higher value product direct to retail. Previously, they have only been able to supply to limited market segments, that is, product for processing, the hospitality trade and re-export.

Integrated premises are those where all stages of the meat process (slaughter, processing and storage) take place at the one site.

Ministers and officials have put significant effort into achieving this result. Chinese officials have visited New Zealand twice and inspected a number of meat plants.

Mr Sutton said that not all the 26 plants to be registered by China have been visited by their officials, however, which was a good indication that China accepted NZ Food Safety Authority's assurances on the standards maintained at our meat plants.

Further work was required to give similar access to China for so-called "non-integrated" plants.

Last week's visit by Chinese officials to familiarise them with New Zealand's unique meat traceability system would help in this regard, and a decision on the registration of these plants was expected in the coming months.

Further discussions would be held with the Chinese authorities on trade in offals, Mr Sutton said.

New Zealand's exports of meat and meat products to China were valued at just over NZ$129 million in 2004.

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