WTO rules Australia not to restrict NZ apple imports

08:32, August 11, 2010      

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The World Trade Organization ( WTO) has agreed that Australia can not restrict the importation of apples from New Zealand, reported Radio New Zealand.

The WTO's disputes panel rejected Australia's argument that importing New Zealand apples would risk the introduction of the bacterial disease of fireblight.

It ruled on Monday that Australia's restrictions break international trade laws and should be amended.

Three years ago, Biosecurity Australia agreed to end a ban imposed in 1921 on New Zealand apple imports, but imposed severe quarantine restrictions which New Zealand argued amounted to a continued ban.

The government took a case to the WTO and in July 2009 the disputes panel heard submissions from New Zealand and Australia.

On Tuesday, the Australian government announced it will appeal against the ruling that it has no legal basis for restricting New Zealand apple imports.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that the government is delighted by the WTO ruling and Australia's decision to appeal against it is concerning, but predictable.

Key said the ruling is a great news for local apple growers.

However, New Zealand apples will remained banned until the outcome of the appeal is known at the end of this year.



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