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China meat trade prospects improved

3 November 2004

China meat trade prospects improved

The future of New Zealand's meat trade with China appears more secure following China's agreement to a process that should allow early registration of meat plants, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said that following meetings in Beijing last week with officials from the NZ Food Safety Authority, the Chinese government had agreed in principle to allow the existing trade in meat products to continue while the details of registration processes is finalised.

The current trade includes meat for re-processing, re-export, and the hospitality trade.

The Chinese have also agreed to admit meat from "integrated plants" (plants were all stages of the meat process take place onsite) without China's own inspectors having to inspect and certify them. Instead, they have agreed to accept FSA assurance of standards at those plants.

Mr Sutton said this represented excellent progress, and it clearly resulted from the goodwill and willingness of both sides to co-operate.

" New Zealand and Chinese authorities showed a clear mutual desire to maintain the trade while working through the technical details of meeting China's new food safety requirements."

The outcome follows news that China would issue no new import permits after 1 November for meat sourced from plants not certified by its own inspectors.

Mr Sutton said the existing arrangements would continue for a short time while registration formalities were completed.

"NZFSA will issue detailed technical guidance to industry on requirements for exports to China. We expect that, in the future, producers will be able to export to China with confidence, provided they meet the standards agreed to in principle last week."

Mr Sutton said news that a process had also been agreed in Beijing for further work on registration of "non-integrated plants" and for trade in offals was also welcome.

China has for some years signaled its desire to improve its system of regulations governing food safety standards.

ENDS

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