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WTO findings in favour of NZ Apples in Australia legal case

Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade

30 November 2010

Media Statement

WTO Appellate Body upholds findings in favour of NZ Apples in Australia legal case

Minister of Trade Tim Groser has welcomed the ruling of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) Appellate Body, which has found in New Zealand's favour in the Australia - Apples case.

"The appeal report upholds the thorough analysis undertaken by the WTO dispute Panel around risk assessment and the science at issue. These findings - reached by independent external arbiters - settle any debate. This is good news for New Zealand apple exporters," said Mr Groser.

New Zealand has been seeking access into Australia for its apples since 1986 but has been barred from the market as a result of restrictive quarantine measures. Australia has maintained that the alleged risk of introducing fire blight, European canker and apple leaf-curling midge justified the measures.

After exhaustive efforts to resolve the matter with Australia, New Zealand took the issue to the WTO. The WTO Panel report on the case was released in August. Australia appealed. The Panel had found that all 16 of Australia's quarantine measures, along with their Import Risk Analysis, were inconsistent with Australia's legal obligations under the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. The Appellate Body has now upheld the Panel's core findings.

On a subsidiary issue - whether there were less trade restrictive measures available to Australia - the Appellate Body overturned the Panel's decision on technical grounds. But this does not weaken the central findings around risk assessment and the science.

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"The Appellate Body has confirmed that Australia's objections to New Zealand apple imports are simply not backed by the science."

Australia is now under an obligation to bring its measures into conformity with its WTO obligations.

"We're looking forward to working with Australia to implement the findings through an effective and durable solution on access for New Zealand apples," Mr Groser said.

"It's good to have the litigation process completed. Now we can work together on implementation."

A link to the full Appellate Body Report can be found at: www.wto.org

ENDS

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