22 Aug 2011

Australian minister warns against NZ apple move

2:01 pm on 22 August 2011

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson has again warned federal MPs that a move to prevent the import of New Zealand apples is in breach of world trade rules.

A ruling from the World Trade Organisation last year forced Australia to agree to apple imports from this country.

Opposition agriculture spokesperson John Cobb planned to introduce a private member's bill to parliament on Monday that aimed to overturn an import clearance by Australia's biosecurity authorities.

Dr Emerson is demanding that opposition Leader Tony Abbott quash the move which he says flouts the WTO decision.

He says parliamentary approval of the bill would put Australia in breach of the world trading rules, inviting retaliation against innocent Australian farmers.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven has said growers hope to start air freighting apples this week.