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WTO the Only Option on Apples

WTO the Only Option on Apples

The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce today agreed with calls by National Party Trade Spokesman Tim Groser and Pipfruit New Zealand Chairman Ian Palmer to take the Australian apple access issue to dispute resolution in the WTO. The Chamber is also pleased to note that Trade Minister Phil Goff and Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton are keeping all options open including the possibility of WTO resolution.

“The Government yesterday announced a programme of action to help boost export performance. However, before we can boost performance we need market access. The Australian apple access issue is an example of a market access problem that has been far too long standing. Many Chamber of Commerce members in Hawkes Bay and throughout New Zealand have been affected negatively by this denial of market access by Australia”, said Charles Finny Chamber CEO.

“For some reason successive New Zealand Governments have appeared reluctant to exercise New Zealand’s right as a WTO member to seek resolution of this important dispute. Ideally, this should be resolvable under the CER framework, but the CER framework does not contain specific provisions relating either to Sanitary and Phytosantiary matters, and despite New Zealand having sought these for years, there is no dispute resolution procedure under CER. The WTO is the only option,” Charles Finny continued.

“Rather than complicate the relationship with our most important political and economic partner, the WTO dispute resolution route will help remove a long standing irritant from the relationship. The moment the issue is placed before the WTO process it gets removed from the bilateral agenda. The two sides stop talking about the issue directly; instead they have to argue their cases to a panel of independent experts drawn from the wider WTO membership. This issue clearly can’t be solved bilaterally so let’s get moving on the WTO front,” Charles Finny concluded.

ENDS

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