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Bruising stance on apples

30 June 2005

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated

Bruising stance on apples

The NZ pipfruit industry today expressed satisfaction with the tough stance taken by the NZ Government at the WTO’s SPS committee meeting in Geneva overnight.

The NZ Government last week took the decision to lodge the apples access issue as an agenda item at the WTO. It will now stay on the agenda and be raised at every SPS committee meeting until it is withdrawn by New Zealand or until a full case is filed for dispute resolution.

“The NZ delegation opening remarks on the apples access item left the Australian delegation in no doubt about our expectations as industry on this matter, ” Pipfruit NZ Chairman Ian Palmer said today. “We are also very pleased to have the public support of the USA, EU and Chile in this forum. This adds to the Australian Government’s embarrassment.”

Mr Palmer commented that for too long the Australian politicians have caved in to pressure from their pipfruit industry. “ The fireblight issue has long since been resolved by the science. Mature apples are not vector for the spread of fireblight,” he said.

“This is another clear message to Biosecurity Australia to stop sitting on its hands and come up with an analysis that gives us meaningful access to the Australian market as soon as possible,” Mr Palmer added.

“The most frustrating thing from our perspective is that the Australians will still not commit to a date. All they would say is that they will release the Import Risk Analysis “as soon as possible.” After six years of waiting we have every right to demand better than this.” Statement Ends

ENDS

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