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Reaction to Japan Apple Access Announcement

Media Statement 2 September 2005

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated

Pipfruit NZ Reaction to Japan Apple Access Announcement

The NZ pipfruit industry today welcomed the news that Japan has at last implemented the WTO decision on fireblight and removed restrictions on the sale of US apples.

“The WTO made a clear decision on mature apples requiring no mitigating measures for fireblight,” according to Pipfruit NZ Chairman Ian Palmer. “It’s a great pity that this decision is not binding on other countries such as Australia. However, our clearly expressed intention is that Australia must follow the same line in its risk analysis.”

“New Zealand has also taken this opportunity to request a review of its current access arrangements with Japan,” Mr Palmer said. “In view of this announcement with the US we are expecting an early favourable outcome.”

New Zealand currently has an apple access protocol developed with Japan that has a number of onerous conditions in relation to fireblight, such as orchard inspections, packing requirements and 45 days coolstorage prior to shipping. Similar requirements on the USA have now been replaced with a simple measure requiring the sampling of export fruit to ensure they are mature.

NZ trade to Australia in apples has been banned for 85 years because of the 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. Despite this case, New Zealand’s application for access to the Australian market has taken since 1999, and the draft risk analysis has still not been released.


ENDS

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