16 Jul 2013

Demand for NZ meat slowing in China

9:31 pm on 16 July 2013

Chinese demand for New Zealand meat has slowed since access problems in May this year led to 1600 containers of sheep and beef being stuck on Chinese wharves for up to a month.

The industry is hoping the loss of market momentum will not permanently suppress the country's appetite for New Zealand's red meat.

It is taking a long time for Chinese importers to process the containers and for consumers to eat their way through it.

Some in the industry say a drop in demand following the backlog is only natural, and that it will take several months to see if the trade problems have put a dent in the demand from Chinese importers.

It is still not clear whether the Government has been able to get a green light for red meat to enter China in the latest trade impasse and another 1300 containers of meat are stranded.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry for Primary Industries discovered that China had changed its meat import laws when it again refused New Zealand meat entry.

China hadn't informed New Zealand that it had introduced new rules which require vets at the final storage point before export to sign off on shipments.

The ministry is trying to get Chinese authorities to accept restrospectively signed export certificates.

The industry has not heard whether containers are moving yet and the Government couldn't confirm whether or not trade was flowing again on Tuesday.