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China demand bolsters New Zealand red meat industry

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WELLINGTON, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's red meat exports have surged in the last decade due to demand from China and despite recent "hiccups" in the bilateral trade, the New Zealand Meat Industry Association (MIA) revealed Thursday.

Export volumes were unchanged year on year in the 2013-2014 season, but export revenue rose by 200 million NZ dollars to 6.5 billion NZ dollars (5.17 billion U.S. dollars) for the year, according to the MIA annual report.

"In many ways, this is the ongoing cyclical nature of our industry, and is unavoidable when our supply is dependent on things out of our control such as the weather. But the factor that makes this rise in our fortunes different and potentially an ongoing factor has been the astounding rise of China," said the report.

In the last 10 years, annual sheep meat exports to China had risen from 27,000 tonnes to more than 160,000 tonnes and beef exports from 1,000 tonnes to 37,000 tonnes, making China the largest market for sheep meat by both volume and value and second largest for beef.

"This rapid growth has not come without its hiccups of course, as demonstrated by last year's border delays. However, we have all learned from that," said the report, referring to documentation bungling by New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries that kept meat shipments sitting in Chinese ports.

"There has been recognition by both government and industry there was a need to strengthen our relationships with our Chinese counterparts."

The industry exported to 119 other countries, said the report, and trade with Indonesia had developed positively despite New Zealand and the United States filing a joint complaint to the World Trade Organization over Indonesian import restrictions.

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