Procedures to clarify new rules for the importation of New Zealand deer velvet into China remain a work in progress.
Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) is collaborating with the NZ and Chinese governments to unpack new market access regulations.
From May 1 2024, only dried velvet will be able to be imported as a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into China. NZ authorities are seeking agreement with their Chinese counterparts on the appropriate classification for frozen velvet imports.
DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat said the changes apply to velvet imported by China from all countries, not just NZ.
DINZ said the changes are being introduced to better align the import regime for TCMs in China, which are overseen by several Chinese authorities.
In the lead-up to the end of 2023 Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) officials met with their counterparts in China to discuss access for deer velvet.
Moffat said the meetings were“highly constructive” but the feedback suggests the regulatory pathway is “quite complex” and will involve a number of different agencies in China.
Despite the complexity, MPI is still aiming for a resolution to the question of velvet access before the 2024-25 export season.
Moffat said DINZ is working with NZ government officials in Wellington and in China and is seeing that MPI is treating this issue as a high priority.
NZ velvet exporters are also working with their customers in China, who have an interest in restoring access for frozen velvet. They are raising this with their government contacts to seek a resolution to the issue.
“While in the short term the situation creates uncertainty, in the long term we are looking to have in place clearer, better and more secure access into China for both dried and frozen velvet, as befits the high-quality product NZ produces for both categories,” he said.
This season’s NZ frozen velvet production and exports will need to be cleared into China before April 30, but otherwise no change is being made to the Regulatory Control Scheme, nor to NZ’s velvet traceability requirements.