5 May 2011

Pipfruit NZ pleased with new apple standards

4:28 pm on 5 May 2011

Pipfruit New Zealand says new draft import standards for sending apples to Australia are a vast improvement on previous versions.

Chief executive Peter Beaven says Biosecurity Australia's new set of conditions are much more workable and do not include uneconomic restrictions, such as orchard inspections and putting the fruit through chlorine baths before export.

Australia was forced to review its import risk analysis for New Zealand apples and negotiate a new set of conditions after the World Trade Organisation upheld a decision it made in 2010 that Australia broke international trade rules with its restrictions on importing apples from New Zealand.

It ended a dispute between the two countries dating since 1921, when Australia banned apple imports from New Zealand after the bacterial disease fireblight was found on apples trees in the Auckland region.

Mr Beaven says the revised standards will make access for New Zealand apples much easier and believes the process will be completed later this year with exports beginning in 2012.

The draft import standards are open to public comment for 60 days before a final report is confirmed, he says.