NZealand apples arrive in Australia after 90-year hiatus

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

New Zealand apples have arrived in Australia after Canberra lost a case at the World Trade Organization on its 90-year ban on the fruit, diplomats told the international trade body Friday.

Giving an update on the implementation of a WTO ruling against Canberra's apple ban, an Australian diplomat told the trade body that "on 17 August, Australia commenced issuing import permits for apples from New Zealand."

"Import of New Zealand apples into Australia commenced as of 19 August 2011," said the diplomat.

A New Zealand diplomat also confirmed the arrival of New Zealand apples in Australia.

"We expect the main flow of exports will begin early in 2012 with the new season harvest," said the diplomat.

"This marks a momentous step along the road in this process -- it ends what has effectively been a 90-year prohibition on the importation of New Zealand apples to Australia," added the New Zealand envoy.

Australia first imposed a ban on New Zealand apples in the early 1920s over an outbreak of fireblight, a disease affecting fruit trees.

Canberra lifted the outright ban in 2006 but imposed strict conditions which New Zealand said made its exports uneconomic, prompting it to complain to the WTO in 2007.

In August 2010, the WTO ordered Australia to ease the restrictions but Canberra launched an appeal, which was rejected in November.

© 2011 AFP

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