2 Jul 2009

NZ puts 'strong' case to WTO over apples

9:50 pm on 2 July 2009

Pipfruit New Zealand says New Zealand has put a strong case to the World Trade Organisation to prove there is no risk of NZ apples introducing unwanted diseases into Australia.

Two years ago, Biosecurity Australia agreed to end an ban on New Zealand apples, which was imposed in 1921 due to a risk of introducing the bacterial disease of fireblight.

But because associated quarantine restrictions were so severe, Pipfruit New Zealand pressured the previous Government to take a case to the WTO in Geneva.

Chief executive Peter Beaven says the panel hearing the case this week is made up of trade experts rather than scientists.

So far it has heard oral submissions from the Australian and New Zealand teams and expert evidence from scientists.

Mr Beaven says the hearing is due to end early Friday (NZ time) with arguments from both New Zealand and Australia on the evidence that expert witnesses have given.

The WTO will issue the panel's judgment in November.