New Zealand has a well deserved reputation for the safety and quality of its primary produce and its lack of corruption.
China’s reputation for both is somewhat less desirable.
But no-one is suggesting the hold-up of our meat at China’s border is due to either safety concerns or corruption.
Whatever the cause, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said sorting out the problem is MPI’s top priority.
“New Zealand officials have worked around the clock to provide additional technical information to Chinese authorities over the weekend.
“This information will be given to AQSIQ, the Chinese organisation responsible for border clearances. This will enable them to pass it on to port authorities, a process which may take some days.
“New Zealand officials are also talking with their counterparts in China today to see what, if any, further information or support is needed.
“Overall trade to China is still flowing well and this issue appears confined to some shipments of meat.
“Most product is frozen and is being properly stored, while priority for clearance is being given to chilled meat.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries is also keeping in close contact with the meat industry and updating them on a daily basis.
“New Zealand is a trading nation and from time to time these kind of technical delays will occur. This is a temporary issue, but we’re confident it can be resolved,” says Mr Guy.
There is no convenient time for such a hold-up but this is another blow in what has been a particularly difficult season for sheep farmers.
“On top of the drought and the meat schedules this is causing concern amongst sheep and beef farmers,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its trade spokesperson.
“It is reassuring to see Minister Nathan Guy confirm that its speedy resolution is the Ministry for Primary Industries number one priority.
“Sheep and beef farmers will be affected one way or another as suppliers or shareholders. A number of the exporters involved in the delay are cooperatives. This means any financial impact ultimately falls back upon the farmers who cooperatively own them.
“What I can say is that New Zealand’s farmers truly value the Chinese market for our lamb.
“We want to build a much closer relationship with Chinese consumers and our Chinese farming counterparts too. It is about establishing a true-two way relationship and we hope these messages can be conveyed to the right authorities.
“We must now urgently resolve this matter to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities. Comment must be responsible and informed by fact because speculation could do New Zealand damage in a vital market,” Mr Wills concluded.
China is a very important trading partner but doing business there is not like doing business here.
It’s a different country with a very different culture and different ways of doing business.
What works here will not necessarily work there and we will have to learn to adapt to that.