4 Nov 2013

MPI and China sign food safety co-operation agreement

9:13 am on 4 November 2013

New Zealand and China have signed a food safety co-operation agreement that the Government says will improve the trading relationship between the two countries.

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye says the agreement is between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and China's Food and Drug Administration.

She says it will lead to the two countries working more closely together on risk management, food standards and regulatory issues which will bring real benefits for primary exporters and farmers.

Ms Kaye says more than 50% of New Zealand's exports are food and its trade is increasing rapidly with China.

She says food safety is the back bone of trade so the agreement will mean a strengthened relationship which ultimately could lead to greater exports.

Ms Kaye says New Zealand has had some challenges this year, but the agreement means that at an official level, whether it's in technical areas or risk management there will be much closer relationships.

She says that will help the two countries progress in areas where they may have differences as well as improving opportunities for New Zealand and China.

Ms Kaye says a joint China New Zealand Food Safety Commission will be established, to meet annually.