25 Jun 2014

Meat delegation back from China

3:23 pm on 25 June 2014

A New Zealand meat industry delegation has returned from China confident that it's been able to bridge some gaps in the working relationship with Chinese officials.

The group of 13 exporter and industry representatives met Chinese regulatory agencies, industry bodies and customers.

The rapidly growing sheepmeat and beef trade to China was disrupted last year when shipments were held up at ports over documentation issues.

But Meat Industry Association chair Bill Falconer said those sorts of misunderstandings would disappear.

"The pace at which our trade to China has been growing has really outstripped the ability of our companies to establish the kind of relationships that they would normally have in a market, particularly with the regulators who are responsible for listing their plants and inspecting their product when it arrives", he said.

"The object of the exercise here was to plug that gap and I have to say that it went very successfully from that point of view."

The delegation met representatives of the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, China's principal inspection and quarantine authority which controls imports from a food safety point of view.

It also met representatives of the organisations responsible for plant inspections and listings, the inspection authority at the Port of Dalian, the China Meat Association, the China Chamber of Commerce for agricultural products and the China Ministry of Commerce.

The delegation received encouraging signals that the sort of disruption to the meat trade experienced last year over documentation issues would end.

"And I have to say, the delegation was almost swamped with importers wanting to establish contact with them," he said.

"We ran a seminar one afternoon and it was valuable in itself but at the end of it our guys couldn't get away."