18 May 2013

NZ meat stuck on wharves in China

5:17 am on 18 May 2013

Container loads of frozen sheep meat and beef have been held up by Customs in New Zealand's largest export market, China, because of complications over a name change.

The Meat Industry Association says the issue appears to be the change in brand from the old Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Association chief executive Tim Ritchie said the change would have been discussed at government level, but what was agreed may not have filtered through to customs officials.

Mr Ritchie said ministry officials have been in discussions with their Chinese counterparts all week to solve the problem.

He said the meat will not spoil in the refrigerated containers, but companies will not be paid for the product until they clear customs.

Mr Ritchie said it is not clear how many container loads are involved, but it could potentially be a substantial amount as more ships are arriving with meat every day.