17 Feb 2011

Australian govt will adhere to WTO apple ruling

7:18 am on 17 February 2011

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has given what appears to be an unequivocable assurance that her Government will not try to get around the World Trade Organisation decision on apple imports.

A WTO disputes panel ruling last year upheld New Zealand's complaint about the stringent quarantine restrictions that Australia was proposing, after lifting its 90-year ban on apples from this country.

The New Zealand case also survived an appeal from Australia.

Julia Gillard said in Wellington on Wednesday that Australia accepts the decision.

She says in a rules-based trading system it would be expected that appeal rights would be used but the "umpire has now spoken" and Australia will abide by the ruling.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven says it is heartening to get that sort of public assurance from Ms Gillard.

The New Zealand apple industry is hoping it can start exporting fruit to Australia from next year.