Kiwi meat now moving from ports

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 14:32 30/05/2013

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Containers of frozen New Zealand meat stranded in ports for weeks is finally entering China.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said he had spoken to meat companies today, and they had confirmed the first shipments were being collected by importers.

"It's positive news that the backlog has now begun clearing," Guy said in a statement.

Chinese authorities were working through the remaining reissued certificates.

"Ports are being authorised to release these further consignments, so it is now up to importers and agents to begin collecting their shipments."

Containers of frozen beef and sheep meat were blocked from entering China since the end of April because of problems with certification, linked to the merging of government departments.

The issue was blamed on officials at the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) for issuing unauthorised certificates.

Chinese officials only began blocking the shipments some two months after the documentation changed.

To resolve the impasse, MPI began reissuing certificates under the name of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, but it has taken almost another week for shipments to start moving.

"Clearing the backlog will take some time, but it's positive that New Zealand meat is now entering the Chinese market again," Guy said.

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