An agreement to allow the export of chilled meat into China has been touted as a big win for exporters.
Trade Minister Todd McClay said the Memorandum of Cooperation had the potential to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars for our farmers, exporters and the wider economy.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said it was a "fantastic step forward" for New Zealand's red meat sector.
Trade in chilled meat to China will initially involve 10 meat establishments agreed in conjunction with industry.
The agreement is one of several signed today as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits New Zealand.
China is New Zealand's second largest market for beef and sheep exports. New Zealand exported about NZ $1 billion worth of frozen sheep and beef meat in the year to December 2016, a trade that has grown five-fold since 2011.
Alliance Group said development of the necessary infrastructure to support the exports would be critical to the success of the lamb market to China.
"This is an important first step," chief executive David Surveyor said in a statement.
"Chilled lamb exports to China offer significant opportunities for the co-operative, our farmer shareholders, particularly in the food service sector, which is a growing segment of our business and a key part of our strategy to capture more market value."
Alliance Group is a co-operative owned by about 5000 farmer shareholders and is the world's largest processor and exporter of sheep meat.
An agreement which would allow China to export retail-ready fresh unpeeled onions to New Zealand was also signed.
Mr Guy welcomed the signing of an agreement with China aimed at strengthening cooperation in fisheries, and an agreed list of projects to commence as part of the Agricultural Growth Partnership which was signed last year.