23 Jul 2008

Australia attacks NZ apple case to WTO

3:11 pm on 23 July 2008

Australia has attacked the scientific methods used by New Zealand in a submission to the World Trade Organisation over a long-running apple dispute between the two countries.

Australia has banned the import of New Zealand apples since 1921.

It says the plant disease fire blight and two other pests could devastate its apple and pear industry if New Zealand apples were allowed into the country.

In its submission to a specialist World Trade Organisation panel, it says New Zealand's legal arguments are bald, and contain sometimes misleading assertions that lack supporting hard evidence.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven says New Zealand's case is sound, but it is likely to be at least three years before the first apples will be sent to Australia.