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NZ gives Aussies a serve over apples at WTO

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

3 February 2006
Media statement

NZ gives Aussies a serve over apples at WTO

New Zealand delivered a strong message to Australia over apple imports at the World Trade Organisation's Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee meeting in Geneva this week, says Trade Minister Phil Goff.

This action followed the release last December of Australia’s revised draft Import Risk Analysis (IRA) for apples from New Zealand. It acknowledged in principle that New Zealand apples should be allowed into Australia, but only under strict quarantine conditions.

“We have some serious concerns around the conditions that have been put on access and over the way the IRA process has been handled,” Mr Goff said.

"New Zealand’s statement to the SPS Committee expressed concern at the proposed quarantine conditions, notably the imposition of quarantine measures for the apple disease fire blight, despite a ruling by the WTO in 2004 found that apples as commercially traded do not transmit fire blight.

"We also expressed frustration at the ongoing delays in the IRA process. This latest application to obtain market access to Australia began in 1999.

"New Zealand is firmly committed to resolving this issue within a defined timeframe, but on terms that are consistent with the science, and that provide for commercially meaningful access."

Mr Goff said New Zealand received support from both the US and the EU at the SPS Committee. He said further action in the WTO was possible if that was required to put New Zealand apples in Australian shops.

The government is continuing to study the IRA document and will make a detailed submission to Biosecurity Australia by the 30 March deadline.


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