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Japan asked to review apple entry requirements

Hon Jim Sutton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister for Trade Negotiations, and Associate Minister for Rural Affairs

16 August 2005

Japan asked to review apple entry requirements

New Zealand has lodged a formal request with Japan to negotiate improved access for our apples, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said Japan's strict requirements on apples from New Zealand due to fire blight meant the export of apples to Japan had not been viable.

However, following a World Trade Organisation case which ruled that commercially-traded apples did not transmit fireblight and thus Japanese quarantine measures were WTO-incompatible, it appeared possible to negotiate new and more favourable access conditions for New Zealand apples.

New Zealand was a third party to the WTO case between Japan and the United States.

Mr Sutton said the United States and Japan had since reached agreement in principle on new access arrangements for American apples exported to Japan.

"I am hopeful that it will be possible for us to negotiate more favourable access conditions for New Zealand apples to Japan, and I see no reason why this shouldn't be negotiated sooner rather than later.

"We will also be looking for better access to other markets, such as South Korea, which also restricts access because of fire blight."

Mr Sutton said the delay in sorting out an import system for New Zealand apples into Australia had been raised under the "specific trade concerns" item on the sanitary and phytosanitary committee of the World Trade Organisation.


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