28 Apr 2014

Infant formula exporters want answers

6:26 am on 28 April 2014

The infant formula industry will be seeking answers on China's new trade rules when it meets the Ministry for Primary Industries early this week.

China gave New Zealand seven days notice that as of 1 May, the owner of any formula brand will have to have clear control over the manufacturing process to be eligible to continue exporting there.

It's expected to cause very significant difficulties for at least 50 companies currently exporting to China.

Infant Formula Exporters Association chair Michael Barnett said the industry still isn't certain what China's new criteria mean.

"I think some of the confusion for everybody is the fact that we've been asked to have a closer relationship between brand and manufacturer and the definition of what a closer relationship (is) has yet been defined. So there's some work to be done some conversations to be had with MPI."

Mr Barnett said his understanding is that any shipments of formula already on the way to China will be accepted under the old trade arrangement.