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New Zealand and China reaffirm importance of agriculture cooperation

New Zealand has taken steps to grow primary sector exports through agreement with China to boost agriculture and food safety cooperation, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor announced today in Beijing.

Damien O'Connor signed an updated 'Strategic Plan on Promoting Agricultural Cooperation' with China's Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian.

"China is an important market for our exporters, especially our primary industries, and reaffirming our significant economic relationship with China is vital to our economic growth and recovery," Damien O'Connor said.  

"Demand for New Zealand food and fibre remains strong internationally and is reflected in the record export earnings of $56.2 billion for the year ending 30 June 2023.

"Our sustainability credentials are essential to our export growth, as customer behaviour changes globally.

"Since the signing of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement and its upgrade in 2022, our relationship has grown strongly with two-way trade now topping more than $40 billion annually. This year primary exports were worth $19.2 billion.

"The updated Strategic Plan, looking out to the next five years, seeks to realign the agreement with a changing landscape in the food and fibre space, including new provisions on sustainability cooperation.

"The plan recognises that both sides have knowledge and expertise to share to help us tackle common challenges, and the importance of reinforcing the sustainability credentials of our wider food system."

The visit also saw the signing of a memorandum to restart the 'China-New Zealand Food Safety Capacity Building Cooperation Programme' between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and China's food safety regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation.

Damien O'Connor said the scholarship programme builds capability and people-to-people connections, and is a key part of maintaining robust regulatory food safety systems, and supporting and growing trade.

"The scholarship programme kicked off in 2014 to deepen engagement between New Zealand and China, while boosting mutual understanding of each other's food safety systems," Damien O'Connor said.

During his visit Damien O'Connor also highlighted several recent developments with China that will smooth the flow of primary sector products into the market.

These include signing of a new phytosanitary Kiwifruit Export Plan that sets clear expectations for managing export biosecurity for this important trade, and agreement to cooperate on expanding paperless e-certification for New Zealand's meat, seafood, and honey exports to China. 

"These steps will lift export returns for Kiwi businesses by reducing administrative costs and future-proofing our export systems," Damien O'Connor said.

"New Zealand and China have worked hard to build a strong, constructive and valued relationship.

"Through cooperation, we can better understand each other's contexts, identify further opportunities for collaboration, and further strengthen our trade ties." 

Source: Beehive