New Zealand’s government has announced the signing of a trade deal with Beijing that will allow exports of chilled meat to China for an initial six-month period.
Todd McClay, New Zealand’s trade minister, said the “memorandum of cooperation” was “a fantastic step forward” for the country’s red meat sector. He said the deal would expand market access to China for a range of meat products, with “the potential to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars for our farmers, exporters and the wider economy”.
“Trade in chilled meat to China will initially involve ten meat establishments agreed in conjunction with industry,” McClay said. “I’m excited that New Zealand’s premium chilled cuts will be enjoyed in high-end restaurants and retailers in China very soon.”
McClay said the deal is part of a joint strategy with China aimed at reaching NZD30bn (US$21bn) of two-way trade by 2030.
China is New Zealand’s second-largest market for beef and sheep exports, the New Zealand government said. The country said it exported about NZD1bn worth of frozen sheep and beef meat in the year to December 2016, “a trade that has grown five-fold since 2011”.
Meanwhile, under a related agreement, China will be allowed to export retail-ready fresh unpeeled onions to New Zealand, which the New Zealand government said followed “a new import health standard, which was consulted with local industry to manage any biosecurity risks”.
Separately, both countries have agreed to “strengthen cooperation in fisheries” and launch an unspecified “agreed list of projects” under an agricultural growth partnership deal signed last year.
The agreements follow the launch of discussions last November to “upgrade” the countries’ free trade agreement.