WTO rejects NZ apple import appeal

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 2nd December 2010

Red Apple - by Abhijit TembhekarThe Australian Government has accepted the Wold Trade Organisation Appellate Body’s decision to allow New Zealand apples to be imported into Australia, after an appeal was rejected this week.

The Government said that it has accepted the decision and will now proceed with a science-based review of the import risk analysis for New Zealand apples, to be conducted by Biosecurity Australia.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, said Australia had strongly defended the integrity of the nation’s quarantine regime throughout the dispute and the current review will ensure Australia remains appropriately protected from pests and diseases.

“With our strong belief in the benefits of liberal trade, the Gillard Government will accept the independent umpire’s decision of the WTO,” Dr Emerson said.

Minister Ludwig said industry and other stakeholders would be properly consulted through the review process, which would be based on the best available science.

“The Australian apple industry will be given an opportunity to present its views on this matter,” he said.

The Gillard Government assured consumers the apples they bought in Australia would continue to be of the highest quality.

“Just as for any other product, no trade in New Zealand apples can occur until quarantine measures that appropriately protect Australia and our agricultural producers have been determined. That will occur following the completion of the review,” Minister Ludwig said.

“As a country dependent on exports, we cannot turn our backs on the WTO rules that support our nation’s prosperity and that we used to gain access to other countries’ markets,” Dr Emerson said.

“Being a leading member and advocate of global trading rules, Australia must now abide by those rules.”