New Zealand wins victory over Australia in apple case 90 years ago

16:14, April 12, 2010      

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New Zealand has won a long-running case it took to the World Trade Organization against Australia over access for its apples 90 years ago, New Zealand media reported on Monday.

However, the New Zealand government and apple growers said they cannot officially comment on the interim report.

The World Trade Organisation disputes panel has rejected Australia's defence that New Zealand apple imports would risk the introduction of the bacterial disease fireblight, Radio New Zealand said.

The trade dispute has been running since the 1920s when New Zealand apples were first banned from Australia due to the discovery of fireblight in the country in 1919.

In 2007, Biosecurity Australia agreed to end the 86-year ban, but imposed strict quarantine restrictions.

The New Zealand government took a case to the WTO, saying the restrictions amounted to a trade barrier. In July last year the disputes panel considered submissions from New Zealand and Australia.

The New Zealand government confirmed on Monday that it has received the WTO's interim report on the multimillion-dollar trade block, but will not say what is in it.

A spokesperson for New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said the confidential report was issued at the end of March and has not yet been finalized. The Government will analyse the interim report before providing comments on the panel's conclusions.

The Australian government says cannot comment on whether it has received the interim report.



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