Key: Technical issue holding up meat in China

By Abby Gillies

Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Glenn Taylor
Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Glenn Taylor

Prime Minister John Key says the refusal by Chinese officials to clear containers of frozen meat being held at the border is simply because of confusion over documentation.

Mr Key told TV3's Firstline that New Zealand's ambassador to China, Carl Worker, went to see authorities yesterday and confirmed a technical issue was holding up shipments of New Zealand meat on Chinese wharves.

The ministry's recent name change from Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to Ministry of Primary Industries, which issues export certificates, had caused confusion.

A second issue was China implementing more rigorous procedures to stop counterfeit meat, Mr Key told Firstline.

"You've got a more robust system and a different agency, and so that's what's slowing things down. We genuinely don't believe there's anything more sinister than that.

"The advice we've had is it's being resolved. There's chilled and frozen meat and the chilled meat being more perishable is being prioritised in being dispatched.''

During his trip to China last month, China's Vice Premier Wang Yang told Mr Key that China wants to buy a lot more meat from New Zealand, Mr Key said.

He was not convinced New Zealand export meat companies would be financially affected by the delay.

"The frozen meat is remaining frozen so that's a delay in terms of its entry across the border but realistically it won't be spoilt and the chilled meat is prioritised, so I'm not convinced there's a lot of costs here."

- APNZ

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