28 Jul 2010

WTO decision on apple exports expected soon

5:52 pm on 28 July 2010

New Zealand apple growers believe the World Trade Organisation will soon rule in their favour after a long fight to be able to export apples to Australia.

Environment Minister Nick Smith told a pipfruit conference in Nelson on Wednesday that a decision is expected within weeks.

Australia refuses to accept New Zealand apples, saying they carry fireblight disease, but growers dismiss the claim.

Pipfruit New Zealand chairman Ian Palmer says if WTO experts have accepted New Zealand's evidence, growers could be exporting apples to Australia within 18 months.

However, he says if Australia loses it is likely to appeal.