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New Zealand vows to learn lesson in China meat export

Updated: 2013-08-01 20:11
( Xinhua)

WELLINGTON - New Zealand agricultural officials Thursday admitted they needed to raise their game in dealing with China trade and pledged to step up staffing and resources to improve relations with Chinese regulators.

The "China strategy" came in the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) review of its handling of changes to export certification to China, which resulted in delaying meat export into the Chinese market.

"The review clearly shows MPI made mistakes when changing the templates used for certifying meat exports to China. These mistakes resulted in delayed acceptance of these exports," MPI acting director-general Scott Gallacher said in a statement.

The mistakes were compounded by a failure to appropriately highlight the issue within the ministry or to Cabinet ministers, said Gallacher.

"Trade with China has tripled in the past five years. It is a market growing in size and importance to New Zealand. It is also a market we are still getting to know.  The review makes it clear we need an improved approach to how MPI works with China, and we are committed to achieving that," he said.

"MPI handles more than 120,000 export certificates each year to more than 100 countries. We are absolutely determined not to make the same mistakes twice. Our trade system is too important."

New Zealand meat was left sitting on Chinese wharves in May after MPI officials failed to properly inform Chinese Customs officials about changes in export certification documents and meat exports were blocked again last month after the ministry failed to ensure compliance with new Chinese rules requiring veterinarians to be directly linked to the last site the meat was at before export.