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New Zealand aquaculture companies will jointly pitch the country’s seafood products to Chin in a trade mission piggy-riding on the World Expo at Shanghai.

The focus of the effort will be on meat and seafood while the first of as many as six ministerial trade missions to China is underway, according to Fis.com, a portal for international seafood business.

The New Zealand government has spent more than NZ$30 million to set up NZ’s high-profile exhibition area there.

Five of the aquaculture companies — including Sanford and Sealord — on the trade mission have agreed to work together in marketing mussels within China under a single brand name, the report said, quoting Trade Minister Tim Groser.

While China is NZ’s second biggest overall export market, it makes up only 10-15% of total seafood exports, Groser was quoted by Radio New Zealand as saying.

Also on the trade mission is the Silver Fern Farms meat co-operative, which is pursuing its own marketing strategy in China after its efforts to develop a meat industry consortium to sell lamb proved unsuccessful.

In the interim, six Chinese senior Government officials visited NZ for the second study programme to observe how it manages food safety risks in seafood. Apart from attending a series of seminars in Wellington, the delegation has visited shellfish farms and processing sites to watch the implementation of food safety standards, the report said.

The trip was part of the free trade agreement between China and New Zealand effective since 2008, which provides for the trade of food safety know-how, said Neil McLeod of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

Although the two countries are different, their regulators are up against similar problems, which have made the exchange of ideas helpful.

New Zealand makes over $170 million yearly from exporting seafood to China and imports some $2 million worth of seafood.

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