Exporters of infant formula to China have until the middle of the week to register their brands with the Ministry…
Exporters of infant formula to China have until the middle of the week to register their brands with the Ministry of Primary Industries.
It comes as the MPI continues to crack down on the trade in illegal shipments by uncertified exporters.
The move has been welcomed by the industry, which hopes it will help protect ‘Brand NZ’ and reassure Chinese consumers buying New Zealand products. It follows a series of milk scandals in the region, which have threatened to tarnish New Zealand’s reputation in the milk product industry.
Infant formula is considered ‘white gold’ in China, with New Zealand products worth almost $140 million last year alone.
Steve Darling, an Avante Infant Formula exporter, said demand for Kiwi formula is «growing all the time».
The Government now wants stricter control over such a lucrative market, and is setting up a new company register to identify and trace brands. The register has the support of exporters, who say it will protect their reputation.
MPI said the new system is being implemented in response to demands from China for more information about goods crossing its borders. It will also help identify counterfeit products.
«It’s always been the concern for legitimate exporters that it has been possible that brands are being sold in China that didn’t necessarily originate from New Zealand, but claimed that they might of,» said Chris Claridge from the New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association.
New Zealand is no stranger to food scares in China. In 2008 six children died after drinking milk contaminated with the toxin melamine, a Chinese company affiliated with Fonterra was involved in the scare.
Earlier this year small traces of the chemical DCD were found in some Fonterra milk powders, sparking international headlines.
Trade Minister Time Groser has admitted there are things New Zealand can improve on.
«I think we’re in reasonsable shape, but there is a broader challenge out there and I think we’ve got to lift our game,» he told TV ONE’s Q A programme this morning.
The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand has welcomed the creation of the new register, saying it will help reassure Chinese consumers.