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AAAG calls urgent meeting with Australia

June 24, 2005

Comments in response to: World Trade Organisation report JAPAN – MEASURES AFFECTING THE IMPORTATION OF APPLES Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by the United States

AAAG calls urgent meeting with Australia

AAAG wants an urgent meeting with respective growers’ industries, politicians and officials for a quicker resolution of the Australian Import Risk Analysis report.

It’s now time to come together. AAAG wants to host and sit down with the Australian and New Zealand politicians and officials and the Australian apple grower industry and come to a sensible and amicable resolution.

This is an olive branch to Australia – to come to a positive outcome. We want a sensible and rational conclusion to the 85 year old sorry saga.

Australian growers concerns can be put their fears of fire blight to bed.

Today’s WTO outcome obviously calls into question the Australian Import Risk Analysis that New Zealand is waiting for where over 95 per cent of the content and entire submissions simply focus on fire blight.

Fire blight should now be removed from the IRA.

New Zealand industry is buoyed by the outcome of the WTO report. One of the main statements in the WTO report is that the US has shipped approximately 53.5 billion apples world-wide over the last 37 years and there is no evidence of apple fruit having introduced fire blight into a fire blight-free area.

The WTO has also rejected other protection measures including orchard inspection for fire blight, chlorination in water and minimum cool storage periods.

We are asking the Australian Agricultural Minister Warren Truss to show leadership to his growers and assure them that there is no scientific reason to delay the importation of NZ apples given the latest and final determination from the WTO. The Australian Government and quarantine authorities now have no excuse for hiding behind artificial trade barriers. This latest development shows that Australian trade policies are not based on fact. The facts are clear, imported NZ apples will not spread fire blight disease in Australia.

The WTO has looked at all the latest science in its determination of the USA/Japan case, and as such it has been established that there is no risk to keep us out. Armed with this report we’ll be doubling our efforts to get our apples into Australia.

ENDS

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