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Zespri says reports of pressure from Beijing over steel dumping are false

Tuesday 19th July 2016

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Kiwifruit marketer Zespri says reports that it was called to a meeting in Beijing or has been pressured by the Chinese government over a potential Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment inquiry into the dumping of Chinese steel are false. 

In a statement issued by a spokeswoman, the company said that two weeks ago local staff had received "unsubstantiated information from an industry body in China on purported industry consultations related to the importation of New Zealand agricultural products". Zespri said this information was passed on to New Zealand embassy officials in China as part of normal business. 

"This is being dealt with at a government-to-government level and we have full confidence in both the New Zealand and Chinese governments on this issue," she said. "Zespri's business in China benefits from a deep and mature relationship between our two countries across both government and business". 

Unsourced reports published in last weekend's media suggested China was 'heavying' New Zealand on key exports such as dairy, wool, and kiwifruit if MBIE found that Chinese steel was being sold at a below-cost price and imposed tariffs. The ministry has refused to confirm or deny if it has received a complaint from local steel manufacturers or if any investigation is underway. 

Speaking during his trip to Indonesia, Prime Minister John Key told the NZ Herald that New Zealand had been given an "absolute assurance" there would not be reprisals for any investigation into steel dumping by China. Key said that trade officials had met the Chinese ambassador to New Zealand in Wellington yesterday. 

Zespri is anticipating China will become its largest market by sales this year, reaching around $500 million.

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