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Pipfruit NZ Reaction to WTO Announcement

15 June 2005

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated

Pipfruit NZ Reaction to WTO Announcement

Pipfruit NZ Chairman Ian Palmer today welcomed Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton’s announcement that the NZ Government would be placing the apple access issue on the WTO agenda.

“It’s the first step in the process of commencing a WTO dispute, and we support the Government putting its foot down at long last,” Mr Palmer said.

“If this issue is to be resolved, we must demonstrate to Australia that we are prepared to go all the way. It’s a big step to take your biggest trading partner and closest neighbour to the WTO. I applaud the Government for showing they won’t be bullied”

NZ trade to Australia in apples has been banned for 85 years because of a bacterial disease called fireblight that can attack apple and pear trees. However, science proving that mature apples are not a carrier of the disease has now been accepted by the WTO in a case on the same matter between USA and Japan.

“Every time in the past 20 years we thought we were making some progress on the issue, Australian politicians have derailed our application and we had to start again. Our industry has been very patient in putting up with this interference to date, but now we are saying enough is enough,” Mr Palmer said.

“Australia should be ashamed as a free trading nation and leader of the Cairns Group that it has allowed this situation to drag on for so long.”

ENDS

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