12 May 2010

NZ seafood companies join to market to China

3:10 pm on 12 May 2010

Several aquaculture companies are to band together to market New Zealand seafood to China, Trade Minister Tim Groser says.

The first of up to six ministerial trade missions to China is underway, with the focus on meat and seafood.

The trade missions will hook into the World Expo at Shanghai, where the Government has spent more than $30 million setting up this country's high-profile pavilion.

Mr Groser says five of the aquaculture companies on the trade mission, including Sanford and Sealord, have agreed to collaborate in marketing mussels in China under a single brand name.

While China is the country's second biggest overall export market, it accounts for just 10% to 15% of total seafood exports, Mr Groser says.

The Silver Fern Farms meat co-operative, which is also on the trade mission, is pursuing its own marketing strategy in China after moves to develop a meat industry consortium for selling lamb fell over.

Chinese delegation studies NZ food safety

Meanwhile, senior government officials from China have been in the country looking at how New Zealand manages food safety risks in seafood.

Along with attending a series of seminars, the delegation visited shellfish farms and processing sites to see how food safety standards are put into practice.

Neil McLeod of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority says the trip was part of the free trade agreement between China and New Zealand, which provides for the exchange of food safety knowledge.

He says while the two countries are different, the regulators are facing similar problems, which has made the exchange of ideas useful.

Officials from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and Ministry of Agriculture will visit China next week to give talks on how both countries can work together to achieve the same food safety outcomes.

New Zealand exports more than $170 million of seafood to China a year, and imports about $2 million worth.