MIA Matters: New NZ-China Halal Arrangement an important step

Pictured left to right at a function at the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing are Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, MIA chief executive Tim Ritchie and MPI deputy director-general China relations Roger Smith. Photo: NZTE.

A new NZ-China Halal Arrangement was signed during the recent trade visit to China with Prime Minister John Key and is an important step for trade between the two countries.

As part of the meat industry’s ongoing work to develop the NZ-China industry-to-industry relationship, MIA chief executive Tim Ritchie was part of the high-level business delegation to China in April led by the Prime Minister.

During the visit there was progress on the negotiations to allow chilled meat access, which has been well publicised. In addition, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the China Certification and Accreditation Administration also co-signed a new Halal Arrangement between the two countries. This means China will recognise New Zealand’s halal regulation and certification regime for halal goods exported to China.

It is a very important step for New Zealand, notes Ritchie, as China has a large and growing Muslim population, currently estimated at 23 million people, and has become a major market for New Zealand’s halal-certified meat exports.

During the latest processing season (for the 12 months ended 30 September 2015) New Zealand exported 77,672 tonnes of halal-certified meat to China – a third of the industry’s total halal-certified exports for the year.

“The arrangement is an important recognition of New Zealand’s halal assurance system and will provide Chinese consumers with confidence on the halal integrity of New Zealand’s certainty for the industry’s halal-certified meat exports to China, he says.

China is one of the New Zealand meat industry’s most important markets, taking 137,000 tonnes of sheepmeat (worth $598 million) and 77,000 tonnes of beef (worth $545 million) in the year ended March 2016.

Many New Zealand meat processors and exporters have developed long-standing commercial relationships with partners in China. Over the last three years, MIA and industry have been working on developing the relationship between the two countries at the industry-to-industry level.

This article appeared in Food NZ magazine (June/July 2016) and is reproduced here with permission.

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