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Trout Ban Could Prove Costly To New Zealand

17 August 1999


"An application to import Canadian Trout could force the New Zealand Government into justifying its ban on trout imports to the World Trade Organisation (WTO)," said Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson today.

"If the application by South Fresh to import 1,000 kilograms of Canadian Trout is declined, New Zealand may be asked to justify its inconsistent stance on trade to the WTO."

"Federated Farmers understands the advice of our own Government officials supports trout imports on sound biosecurity grounds."

"New Zealand's arguments would have to hinge on the issue of poaching. Yet other game species are also commercially available, such as salmon, deer and duck. I would ask what evidence does New Zealand have of an influx of black-market product from those species appearing in restaurants and supermarkets?" posed Mr Polson.

Federated Farmers has continually expressed its concern about the trade implications of the ban placed on the sale of imported trout.

Under WTO rules, all countries are obliged to manage domestic issues in the least trade-distorting way.

"A ban on the sale of imported trout will be seen as a back-door trade restriction and will have a potential negative impact on New Zealand's own food and fibre exports, which account for over half of New Zealand's overseas earnings."

"At a time when market access is critical for New Zealand's exports and the whole economy, this issue should be taken seriously by the Government," concluded Mr Polson.


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