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No more apple excuses for Labour

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith National Party Foreign Affairs & Trade Spokesman

24 June 2005

No more apple excuses for Labour

National's Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman, Lockwood Smith, says Labour has no more excuses for failing to get action on apple access to Australia after the WTO ruling on the case between the United States and Japan.

"The WTO Compliance Panel confirmed WTO rulings that commercially traded mature apples do not spread fire blight.

"Measures to restrict trade, such as requiring apples to be from fire blight-free orchards, or requiring that apples in packing facilities be chemically disinfected, were also ruled to be incompatible with WTO agreements."

Dr Smith says Australia was a party to those agreements.

"Japan tried to invent new science to maintain its protectionist barriers to US apples, just as it is believed Australia has been trying to do.

"The WTO Compliance Panel has thrown that out and Labour should now put real pressure on Australia to comply with its WTO obligations and provide immediate access for New Zealand applies."

Dr Smith says Australia will clearly drag the chain as long as it can.

"The WTO ruling gives the Government new ammunition to gain access. If that access is not forthcoming, it should file dispute settlement proceedings immediately. Only then will Australia accept that New Zealand means business.

"Labour owes it to our apple growers", says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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