China, New Zealand ink deal on organic standards
11:07 AM, November 15, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:19 AM, November 15, 2016

China, New Zealand ink deal on organic standards

China and New Zealand have agreed to recognise each others’ agricultural product certifications.

China signed a landmark agreement with New Zealand on Monday that will see the countries recognise each other’s standards for organic products.

The deal is the first of its kind for China and will boost development of the domestic organic industry and bilateral trade, according to the Certification and Accreditation Administration.

Sun Dawei, head of the administration, and Martyn Dunne, director-general of New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, inked the agreement in Beijing.

According to the agreement, organic products exported from New Zealand will have a certificate from the ministry, while those heading the other way will be certified by the Chinese administration, removing the need for lengthy checks at their destination.

About 70 per cent of New Zealand’s organic products are exported, with much of it shipped to China. The most common goods are dairy products, meat and vegetables, while China exports organic coffee, frozen vegetables, crops and raw materials for pet food.

“China is negotiating with countries, including Denmark, the United Kingdom and Thailand as well as the European Union, for mutual recognition of organic food certification,” said Wang Maohua, an official overseeing food and agricultural product certification at the administration.

“We expect to reach an agreement with Denmark in one or two years,” Maohua remarked.

The organic industry in China has grown rapidly in recent years, despite the nation’s economic slowdown. The total sales reached 60 billion yuan ($8.78 billion) last year, twice as much as in 2013, Wang said. Best-sellers include dairy products, wine, rice and vegetables.

China strictly regulates the industry. For instance, enterprises whose certificates have been revoked for faking organic processes must wait up to five years to reapply for certification.

Jia Huai, a researcher at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, told Xinhua News Agency that China has faced obstacles in signing mutual recognition agreements on organic standards with other countries, as its domestic organic industry lacks credibility due to some enterprises adopting controversial practices.

Copyright: China Daily/ Asia News Network

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