Fonterra to take 'extreme care' over trade with Taiwan

2:29 pm on 8 August 2013

A Fonterra senior trade consultant has told MPs extreme care will be taken over its trade with Taiwan in the light of the blocking of some dairy products by China.

The ban of some milk products followed revelation that 38 tonnes of its whey protein used by other manufacturers was contaminated with a bacterium that can cause botulism.

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is hearing submissions on a trade agreement with Taiwan, a deal that would immediately eliminate tariffs for more than 70% of exports to the country.

A senior trade consultant with Fonterra, Ken Geard, was asked by the committee how Fonterra will ensure New Zealand's clean green brand is maintained.

He told MPs the cooperative knows how serious the current situation is and although he knows of no similar problem in Taiwan, all efforts will be made to ensure there are no problems.

Meanwhile dairy industry representatives said farmers and consumers would benefit from a free trade agreement with Taiwan.

Nichola Hill, the policy manager for Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, said the economic co-operation agreement would be a win-win for Taiwan and New Zealand.

Ms Hill told the committee good trade issue management is a priority for the industry.