Minister of Trade Tim Groser has this week welcomed the verdict of the World Trade Organisation`s (WTO) Panel which he says has found firmly in favour of New Zealand apple growers.

“This is excellent and long awaited news for our apple industry,” said Mr Groser. “The Report represents a solid and very clear win in this long running case. Critically, the report is based on extremely thorough analysis by independent external arbiters – it settles any debate.”

 New Zealand has been actively seeking access for its apples since 1986 but has been barred as a result of restrictive quarantine measures – the Australians maintaining that the alleged risk of fire blight, European canker and apple leaf-curling midge being introduced has justified their plant quarantine-related measures. Having exhausted all avenues of dialogue to resolve the issue, New Zealand sought a ruling from the WTO, starting the formal dispute settlement process in 2007.

“The Report released today finds that all sixteen of Australia`s quarantine measures along with their current Import Risk Analysis are inconsistent with their legal obligations as a WTO member under the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement.” “The Panel has come to the same conclusion we did some years ago – that Australia`s objections to the importation of New Zealand apples are simply not backed by adequate scientific evidence.”

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