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Breakthrough for NZ apple exports to Australia

Breakthrough for NZ apple exports to Australia

The 75 year ban on New Zealand apples to Australia could soon be lifted following the release today of a draft revised Impact Risk Assessment by Australian quarantine officials.

Pipfruit New Zealand Chairman, Phil Alison said this is a significant positive step forward for the New Zealand apple industry.

“The major investment in time, money and resources by Pipfruit New Zealand finally appears to coming to fruition,” Mr Alison said.

“We are still assessing the finer details of the draft risk report. Our initial assessment gives us confidence that robust scientific processes have been applied to our application.

“We also need to be certain that the assessment is a fair interpretation of the recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) case,” he said.

“While, from our perspective, the risk assessment has been a frustratingly long process, we have been impressed with the degree of detail and consultation undertaken by the Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the Risk Assessment Panel.

“We also need to remember that the process is not yet complete. This is a draft risk assessment that is now open for comment from all interested parties. New Zealand will submit comments and, no doubt, comments will also be submitted from Australia.

“We anticipate the draft moving to a final practical protocol within the next 6 months, opening the way for New Zealand access as early as next season.

“We will look forward to working positively with our Australian counterparts in increasing the overall Australian market for apples – offering high quality fruit and a range of varieties which will complement Australia’s pipfruit industry and consumer market.

“We see Australia as a market suitable for high quality apples with an estimated potential export value of about $20 million a year.” Mr Alison said.

Background information on WTO decision

In late November the World Trade Organisation decision rejected Japan's appeal of an earlier decision that Japan’s quarantine restrictions on apples from USA were inconsistent with WTO requirements.

The dispute was brought by the United States and supported by New Zealand and the decision provided independent support from the highest possible body that mature apples are not a vector of fireblight.

New Zealand participated as a third party in the WTO proceedings and made substantial submissions to the Panel including key scientific evidence.

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