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Step forward for apple access to Australia

A small step forward for apple access to Australia

Trade Minister Phil Goff and Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton talk apples at a press conference

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The Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity and Forestry, the Minister for Trade Negotiations and the Minister of Trade received the long-awaited draft Import Risk Analysis (IRA) on New Zealand apples from the Australian High Commissioner, Allan Hawke, at the Beehive today.

The Ministers have welcomed the release of the draft apples IRA by Biosecurity Australia, the body that sets that rules for imports, “even though this has taken far too long.”

The Ministers indicated that the draft IRA recommends that the Australian Government grant market access to New Zealand apples under certain conditions to all states except Western Australia.

“Although the draft IRA acknowledges in principle that New Zealand apples should be allowed in to Australia, we have some serious concerns around the conditions that have been put on access.” The Government will study the document further and prepare a detailed submission.

A decision by the Australian Government to allow importation of New Zealand apples would overturn the 84-year ban on New Zealand apples imposed on the grounds that apples might be vectors for transmission of the plant disease fire blight.

This release of the IRA was the next step required in the process to get New Zealand apples accepted for import to Australia.

“New Zealand will work co-operatively with Australian officials to expedite this process and get New Zealand apples into Australia,” the Ministers said.

Biosecurity New Zealand would now need to study the detail of Biosecurity Australia’s conditions for market access and will respond within the comment period, which ends 30 March 2006.

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