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Australia to Appeal WTO Apples Decision

Joint media release: Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; Minister for Sustainable Population Tony Burke MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Stephen Smith

10 August 2010

The Government has decided that Australia will appeal the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel in the dispute between Australia and New Zealand regarding apples to the WTO Appellate Body.

The WTO panel provided its report to the Governments of Australia and New Zealand on a confidential basis in May. The report was released publicly by the WTO on 9 August.

We are disappointed that the WTO panel found that the import risk analysis (IRA) underpinning Australia’s requirements for New Zealand apples is not sufficiently supported by scientific evidence and also that the requirements are unduly trade-restrictive.

The relevant import requirements are aimed at addressing the quarantine risks associated with New Zealand apples in relation to the diseases fire blight and European canker, and the insect apple leafcurling midge.

The Government considers there are adequate grounds to appeal the panel’s decision.

The outcome of the appeal may be known by the end of 2010.

Australia has vigorously defended its science-based quarantine system throughout this dispute. The Government is committed to maintaining the integrity of Australia’s quarantine regime.

The existing measures for New Zealand apples will remain in place pending the outcome of the appeal.

Media inquiries