NZ meat cleared across Chinese wharves, ministry chided for mistake
New Zealand meat has been cleared to move across Chinese wharves as soon as next week though the administrative logjam has been sheeted home to the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced the breakthrough while chiding his department for submitting paperwork in a format that hadn't yet been approved by China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
That "caused confusion for Chinese inspectors" and was a mistake in one of the ministry's core functions that "should never have occurred," Guy said in a statement.
"I am very disappointed in the Ministry of Primary Industries for its mistakes in certification which have caused this delay," he said.
Guy expressed gratitude to Chinese officials for "their willingness to work constructively with New Zealand officials to find a way through this administrative error." And he thanked the New Zealand meat industry for its patience.
Guy said the director general of the ministry had issued explicit instructions to ensure there wasn't a repeat, saying the mistake "was highly unusual."
"I'm disappointed it has taken so long to get to the bottom of this problem and for the ministry to come up with a proper explanation," Guy said. "This has been frustrating for myself, the public and meat exporters."
Chinese authorities have agreed to release consignments under the name of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, Guy said.