7 July 2021    New Zealand exported red meat and co-products worth $877 million during May, according to the latest analysis from the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Overall, exports to China totalled $344m, down 14 per cent compared to May 2020. Sheepmeat exports to China reduced by 12 per cent to 21,610 tonnes, and beef by 23 per cent to 16,134 tonnes.

However, sheepmeat exports to almost all other major markets increased, particularly to the US, with a 156 per cent rise to 2,816 tonnes, worth $41m. Sheepmeat exports to the US have rebounded from very low levels at this time last year due to COVID-19.  Overall, sheepmeat exports were up one per cent to 36,193 tonnes, with a value of $369m.

MIA Chief Executive Sirma Karapeeva said that overall exports were very similar to the same period last year.

“We are seeing red meat exports return to more typical levels. There are changes in destinations, which reflect global demands and this underlines the ability of the industry to be agile and service markets with the strongest demand.

“Chinese import data shows that overall meat imports into China from all countries declined slightly, compared to May 2020. This could be as a result of reported decreases in domestic pork prices in China and the larger volumes of meat imports in previous months.”

Beef exports to most markets, including China, were down year on year, with an overall drop of six per cent to 45,710 tonnes, worth $358m. However, beef exports to the US increased by three per cent, to 16,755 tonnes and there was a significant increase in demand from Switzerland.

Beef exports to Switzerland increased 647 per cent to 605 tonnes. This was against a smaller than usual amount of beef exports to the country last year, but still significant, as in recent years beef exports to Switzerland have averaged just under 400 tonnes per month.

“Switzerland is a market that applies significant barriers on a number of agricultural imports including meat,” says Ms Karapeeva.

“However, it is a market where there are opportunities for growth and a report recently produced for the New Zealand International Business Forum identified Switzerland as the highest ranked candidate as a potential free trade agreement partner.”


For more information, please contact:

Sirma Karapeeva

021 256 5347



Notes to editor

The Meat Industry Association of New Zealand (Incorporated) (‘MIA’) is the voluntary trade association representing processors, marketers, and exporters of New Zealand red meat, rendered products, and hides and skins. MIA members represent 99 percent of domestic red meat production and export. The red meat industry is a critical part of New Zealand’s economy, and the second largest goods exporter. It is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry employing some 25,000 people in about 60 processing plants, mainly in the regions.