Deal signed on or­ganic stan­dards

China and New Zealand agree to rec­og­nize each oth­ers’ agri­cul­tural prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China signed a land­mark agree­ment with New Zealand on Mon­day that will see the coun­tries rec­og­nize 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 oth­er­way will be cer­ti­fied by the Chi­nese ad­min­is­tra­tion, re­mov­ing the need for lengthy checks at their des­ti­na­tion.

About 70 per­cent 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 raw­ma­te­ri­als 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.”

The or­ganic in­dus­try in China has grown rapidly in re­cent years, de­spite the na­tion’s eco­nomic slow­down. 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 ex­am­ple, en­ter­prises that have their cer­tifi­cates 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.

WANG JUE / CHINA NEWS SER­VICE

Peo­ple from New Zealand check or­ganic pro­duce at an agri­cul­ture in­dus­trial park in Nan­chong, Sichuan province, last year. They were at­tend­ing an in­ter­na­tional or­ganic agri­cul­tural devel­op­ment fo­rum in the city.

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