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Robson warns ‘read the fine print’

12 October 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Robson warns ‘read the fine print’ on Aussie trade agreements

The Australian government’s poor treatment of its trading partners, particularly on wine and apples, has led Matt Robson, Progressive Deputy Leader, to issue a warning to all countries with trade agreements with Australia.

"All countries holding trading agreements with Australia should check the fine print today. The Australian government's effective subsidisation of local wine and ban on New Zealand apples are clear examples of why they can not be trusted to act in good faith and uphold the principals of fair trade.

"There is no valid reason why Australia continues to ban New Zealand apples. Even the World Trade Organisation agrees that there is no scientific reason for restricting importation of our apples. The top scientists agree, fireblight will not be transmitted to Australia by New Zealand apples. Aussie apple growers should be competing on quality, not trading barriers.

"Members of Parliament sampled the latest vintage Marlborough wines in Parliament last week at the Marlborough Wine Growers tasting event, and celebrated their fine wine. It is a shame that the only way Australia thinks they can compete with our good wine is to slap on a protectionist subsidy. Where's their sense of sportsmanship and competition? Out the window by my reckoning.

"It seems that any opportunity for a little underarm Aussie rules will be taken in the trading arena when it comes to dealing with the Howard government. If this sort of behaviour continues we have no option but to take them to the WTO," Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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