Differential reporting

WTO angers farmers over apple imports

Australian apple growers are angered by reports the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will overturn Australia’s 90-year ban on New Zealand apple imports.

The Age, 13 April 2010

Rotten ruling a threat to apple industry

THE Adelaide Hills apple industry is facing similar devastation to the Riverland’s horticultural downturn, because of a World Trade Organisation decision to allow New Zealand apples into Australia for the first time in nearly a century.

The move is expected to jeopardise the state’s entire $50 million apple and pear industry.

Apple growers yesterday warned the ruling represented both an economic and disease threat.

Australia’s $500 million apple and pear industry yesterday vowed to fight the WTO decision on disease and trade grounds and to launch a major marketing program to convince consumers to buy Australian..

Adelaide Advertiser, 14 April 2010

Free trade benefits consumers and the wider economy

THE World Trade Organisation’s decision to overturn an 89-year ban on importing New Zealand apples will naturally unsettle local producers but it is good news for consumers. New Zealand apples were first banned in 1921 after some were found to have fire blight. The WTO has reportedly ruled that the ban breaches international trade rules and was not, as Australia has claimed, necessary to protect local crops from disease.

The Australian, April 14 2010

NZ apples to take bite out of Australian fruit market

New Zealand’s apple growers have reportedly won a major victory in their 90-year battle to sell fruit in Australia, but mindful of Australia’s mastery of delaying tactics, the industry is not expecting benefits any time soon.

New Zealand Herald, 13 April 2010

WTO win for apple growers reported

NZ apples were first banned from Australia after fireblight was found in Northland, in 1919, probably after infected nursery stock was imported from California.

Australia first banned the import of fruit trees from New Zealand in the early 1920s when the disease spread in this country, and later the import ban was extended to all apple and pears.

Though New Zealand scientists have found fireblight in Australian ornamental plants and shown that the bacterial disease is unlikely to be transmitted on mature, clean fruit, efforts to gain access to the potentially-lucrative Australian market in 1986, 1989, and 1995 were rejected.

Further talks over the restrictions also failed when access was allowed in 2006 with conditions – such as orchard inspections – so strict that exports would not be economically viable.

New Zealand took a complaint to the World Trade Organisation in 2007, on the basis that the proposed constraints were an unacceptable trade barrier. …

Biosecurity Australia said Chinese apples could be imported as long as risks from 18 pests of concern were a “very low level”.

The pests included mites, oriental fruit fly, mealybugs, Japanese apple rust, apple brown rot, European canker, apple scab, apple and sooty blotch and flyspeck complex – but biosecurity officials said they were satisfied China does not have fireblight.

Dominion Post, 12 April 2010

Australia must abide by WTO rules on apples

It seems almost inevitable that Australia will appeal against the WTO’s final report, which is due in mid-year. Such an appeal, while restricted to issues of law covered in the report, would mean another delay.

In the process, however, Australia is besmirching its reputation as a promoter of free trade. At the moment, its trade practices are the subject of 10 complaints from other countries.

New Zealand has no such cases against it. But Australia is not shy of using the WTO disputes process when it feels slighted. It is a complainant in seven cases, and has also registered as a third party in 47 cases, where it believes that it has commercial or legal interests.

Obviously, the Australians are prepared to use the WTO rules when they are in their interests.


New Zealand Herald, 14 April 2010

Cross posted

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4 responses to “Differential reporting

  1. Hmmm, all I can say if we’re going to get NZ apples here, then Hooray!! Aussie apples are pretty crappy and weird varieties (pink lady?). We need more Braeburn and Fuji. And Golden Queen peaches too.

  2. Not a moment too soon. Deborah, were you in Oz for the Great Banana shortage?

  3. 2006? We were in NZ then, eating lots of delicious Ecuadorean bananas.

  4. Nobody’s content to let apples be apples…