WTO’s Aus-NZ apple case chair announced

South Africa’s Attie Swart will chair the World Trade Organisation disputes panel in Geneva over the Australian-New Zealand apple case.

Swart will be accompanied on the panel by Uruguayan WTO representative William Ehlers and US representative Kirsten Hillman.

The dispute is scheduled to be heard this week, however a second panel hearing has already been scheduled for two days in March next year, with a final report is issued in July, indicating there is no easy end to the case expected.

Another year could be added to this should either party choose to exercise its right to appeal to the WTO’s appellate body on legal issues.

NZ has not been able to export its apples to Australia since 1921, since Australia claimed the disease fireblight and two other pests could devastate its apple and pear industries.

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