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New Zealand meat looks to China for trade deal

Chinese President, Hu Jintao's recent New Zealand visit, has marked a further cementing of New Zealand's meat trade relationship with China.

"With the signing of sheep and goatmeat, and beef veterinary protocols for meat access, this is a significant step towards formalising market access arrangements with China and putting the trade on a sound footing." Jeff Grant, Chairman of Meat New Zealand said.

Grant says that a few additional steps are needed before all the processes to meet the Chinese requirements are complete, but overall the signing of these protocols is an important development for the country.

"While we are already exporting meat to China, this assures that New Zealand has ongoing access in the future on the basis of its excellent standards in meat production and processing".

"The Chinese market for New Zealand lamb has more than doubled over the past four years and is now the fourth largest export market for New Zealand lamb by volume. This growth is expected to continue."

"China takes mainly lower value lamb cuts from New Zealand for further processing, but our hope is that higher value cuts of meat will now start to increase, raising returns to New Zealand sheep and beef farmers." Grant said.

Grant said that New Zealand meat and meat offal exports to China last year were worth over NZ $69 million and the market provides an excellent diversification prospect for the future.

Grant said that Meat New Zealand is also very supportive of the announcement of the agreement to develop a free trade deal between China and New Zealand. "Taking into account the importance of the People's Republic of China as an important export destination for wool also, this large and diverse market offers significant opportunity for New Zealand's sheep and beef farmers and the wider export industry in the future."

"This is one of the president's first major overseas trips and to have included New Zealand is a real honour. Developments as a result of the visit are a credit to the hard work that has been put in by the Governments' of New Zealand, and the People's Republic of China." Grant said.

Both Governments are hoping to conduct a feasibility study for a free trade deal next month in Wellington.




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