WELLINGTON, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The China International Import Expo (CIIE), an annual trade fair held in Shanghai, China, boosts a huge opportunity for New Zealand companies' COVID-19 recovery, a New Zealand dairy company manager who is also a four-term veteran of CIIE told Xinhua on Friday.
"The fourth China International Import Expo is held under the global pandemic background; it gives me the strong confidence that China is still keeping opening-up policy and is controlling the COVID-19 efficiently. Its huge consumer market helps foreign trade enterprises like us to find opportunities in the green food industry and promote global economic recovery," said Roy van den Hurk, General Manager of Theland Global R&D, Milk New Zealand Dairy.
"With the upgrade of the NZ-China free trade agreement, we take CIIE as a fast-sales growing channel for New Zealand Dairy companies to enter into China's big market," he said.
New Zealand, the world's largest dairy exporter, has been participating in the CIIE from the very first year. China, the world's largest dairy importer, has been New Zealand's top trading partner since 2017.
One of the most active New Zealand companies at the CIIE, Auckland-based Milk New Zealand Dairy has seen increasingly larger presence at the CIIE, with an exhibition area of about 200 square meters this year. It even set up a professional live-stream broadcast team in 2020.
"As a four-term veteran, this year we have been fully prepared since the beginning of the year into the Expo, planning the first new products and series of activities. We have full confidence in China's CIIE," said Roy.
Many people including Roy will not be able to go personally to Shanghai this year due to the pandemic. "We look forward to connecting China with global resources, building a digital supply chain with low carbon traceability," he said.
Roy still remembered the benefits from the beginning of CIIE.
"After the first CIIE, thanks to the 'trade facilitation' policy piloted by Shanghai Customs and Changning District government, it took only 72 hours for Theland fresh milk from New Zealand farm to the breakfast table in Shanghai. Before that, we needed at least 7 to 8 days."
Roy said CIIE has a great penetration market effect and continuously helps his company's milk products expand to the tier 3-5 cities and rural market in China.
To better understand the trade policies in China, Roy did a lot of homework.
"I think we've been very fortunate that China has a five-year plan and healthy food was promoted in that five-year plan. The Chinese government is promoting dairy with healthy protein. We're going to be lucky in 2022... due to the upgraded free-trade deal," he said.
According to the upgraded free-trade deal between the two countries signed in January this year, existing conditions for dairy products have been maintained, with all safeguard tariffs to be eliminated within one year for most products, and three years for milk powder.
Rou did a very promising calculation about the future of the dairy trade between China and New Zealand.
"New Zealand has a big dairy economy but 95 percent of it is actually exported. But when you look at the per capita input or intake of dairy, from China to New Zealand, you look at the opportunity in New Zealand. Like myself, I can drink probably 100 liters of milk every year, in China that's just over 10 liters."
"So even if the Chinese consumer started to drink more, maybe 15 liters or 20 liters, that's a huge, huge increase in the dairy intake, so we see a huge potential and we're participating in the CIIE."
Chinese consumption of liquid milk rose strongly in 2020 and is expected to continue growing over the coming decade, according to Rabobank's latest research.
This will create more export opportunities for dairy producers in New Zealand and in other key dairy-production regions, Roy said.