6 Apr 2010

China apple exports to Australia not welcome

3:13 pm on 6 April 2010

Pipfruit New Zealand thinks China is likely to find it just as difficult as New Zealand has to get its apples into Australia.

The Australian Biosecurity Authority has issued a draft plan which recommends allowing apples to be imported from China, but under quarantine conditions to keep pest and diases risks to very low levels.

The recommendation is open for appeal before it receives a final go- ahead.

After decades of battling, New Zealand apples were also cleared for access to Australia two years ago.

But the conditions, which included orchard inspections, were so stringent that New Zealand took a complaint to the World Trade Organisation, on the basis that they were an unacceptable trade barrier.

A report from the WTO disputes tribunal is not expected until about the middle of the year.

Australian growers have already indicated that they will resist Chinese apple imports, just as they have done for New Zealand fruit.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven says the process for approving Chinese apples is still at an early stage.