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Fonterra promises 'extreme care' in Taiwan trade

Updated: 2013-08-09 09:49
( Xinhua)
WELLINGTON -- A senior trade consultant for New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra told the country's Parliament Thursday that extreme care will be taken over its trade with Taiwan in the light of the blocking of some dairy products by the Chinese mainland.

The ban followed revelation that 38 tons of its whey protein was contaminated with a bacterium that can cause botulism.

Ken Geard was speaking to the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Select Committee, which was hearing submissions on a trade agreement with Taiwan, Radio New Zealand reported.

Asked by the legislators on the committee how Fonterra would ensure New Zealand's clean, green brand was maintained, Geard said the cooperative knew how serious the current situation was and although he knew of no similar problem in Taiwan, all efforts would be made to ensure there were no problems, said the report.

Meanwhile, New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) Executive Director Stephen Jacobi told the committee that it supported the government's intention to conclude an economic cooperation agreement (ANZTEC) with Taiwan.

"The ANZTEC agreement is high quality, ambitious and comprehensive. It's the first of its kind between Taiwan and an OECD economy, and we welcome the opportunity this agreement provides to expand trade and investment linkages with Taiwan," Jacobi said in his published submission.

"The economic benefits to New Zealand are considerable. The comprehensive tariff elimination and other improvements to the rules governing trade and investment between the parties will lead to improved returns for business and lower costs and more product choice for consumers."

By the end of the first four years 98.7 percent of current exports to Chinese Taipei would be duty free and New Zealand could expect to generate increases in merchandise exports in excess of NZ$100 million ($79.63 million), he said.