The World Trade Organisation’s Appellate Body, has upheld New Zealand’s case in the dispute over exporting apples to Australia.
This is great news for orchardists which has been welcomed by Trade Minister Tim Groser.
“The appeal report upholds the thorough analysis undertaken by the WTO dispute Panel around risk assessment and the science at issue. These findings – reached by independent external arbiters – settle any debate. This is good news for New Zealand apple exporters,” said Mr Groser.
New Zealand has been seeking access into Australia for its apples since 1986 but has been barred from the market as a result of restrictive quarantine measures. Australia has maintained that the alleged risk of introducing fire blight, European canker and apple leaf-curling midge justified the measures.
After exhaustive efforts to resolve the matter with Australia, New Zealand took the issue to the WTO. The WTO Panel report on the case was released in August. Australia appealed. The Panel had found that all 16 of Australia’s quarantine measures, along with their Import Risk Analysis, were inconsistent with Australia’s legal obligations under the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. The Appellate Body has now upheld the Panel’s core findings.
On a subsidiary issue – whether there were less trade restrictive measures available to Australia – the Appellate Body overturned the Panel’s decision on technical grounds. But this does not weaken the central findings around risk assessment and the science.
“The Appellate Body has confirmed that Australia’s objections to New Zealand apple imports are simply not backed by the science.”
This ruling opens the door to apple exports to Australia worth millions of dollars.
That’s not only good for our producers it will offer more choice, and potentially lower prices through more competition, to Australian consumers.