29 October 1998
Japan to appeal to WTO over apples

JAPAN will appeal against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel ruling that its testing requirements for imported apples and other produce are in breach of free trade rules.

A WTO ruling has found that Japanese measures requiring each variety of a product to be separately tested for the codling moth were not backed by sufficient scientific evidence.

The USA said the decision should open new opportunities in Japan for US exporters of apples, nectarines, cherries and walnuts.

Japan opened its market to US Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples in 1994 after pressure.

The USA has been pressing for access by five more varieties – but testing codling-moth quarantine treatments for each one takes two to four years.

The panel report marks a further step in defining WTO rules on what makes up scientific evidence for high food safety standards.

Meanwhile, Brussels is preparing the ground for keeping its 10-year-old ban on hormone-treated beef despite a WTO judgement that it is not scientifically based.

  • Financial Times 29/10/98 page 6