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China Daily Website

NZ-China ties remain strong through dairy issues

Updated: 2013-08-22 15:45
( Xinhua)

WELLINGTON - The relationship between China and New Zealand remains strong despite recent food safety concerns, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said during a visit to Beijing Thursday.

"While trade and economic issues currently dominate the agenda, my discussions in Beijing have been wide ranging and have emphasized the extent of our shared interests," McCully said in a statement from his office.

"This visit, which was planned some months ago, is timely in light of recent issues involving dairy products from New Zealand."

McCully on Thursday held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

"Mr Wang and I spoke openly and constructively about issues with some dairy products and the response by Fonterra and government agencies," McCully said.

"The New Zealand government has high expectations for New Zealand exports, including the application of strict food safety standards. When issues arise we expect good disclosure and remedial action," he said.

"Both Chinese and New Zealand ministers acknowledge that Fonterra has work to do in the coming weeks to rebuild consumer confidence."

"China is an extremely important trading partner and we are committed to responding to this issue in a timely and cooperative manner."

Fonterra has been subject of two international food safety alerts revealed this month, with the worst case being the whey protein concentrate shipped to customers at home and abroad that was found to be contaminated with a bacterium that can cause botulism.

On Wednesday, it was revealed in New Zealand that a shipment of Fonterra-made lactoferrin was stopped in China in May after the Chinese authorities found it contained excessive levels of nitrates.

Lactoferrin made by rival New Zealand firm Westland Milk Products was also the subject of a recall in China this month for the same reason.

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