Tasmania faces WTO action over salmon

By Boyd Champness

THE Federal Government will not contest a World Trade Organisation ruling calling on Australia to lift restrictions on imports of uncooked Canadian salmon.

But the threat of trade restrictions by Canada remains a possibility following the Tasmanian Governments refusal to lift its ban on salmon imports.

Announcing the no-appeal decision, Federal Trade Minister Mark Vaile said there were limited grounds for appeal and a risk that some of Australias previous wins on quarantine issues could be undone if the Government proceeded.

The Tasmanian Government maintains that its A$120 million (46m) salmon industry is at risk of contracting up to 22 exotic diseases from uncooked Canadian salmon, which could decimate the industry.

Tasmanian Premier, Jim Bacon, told The Age newspaper that the only part of the Australian market that Canadian salmon cannot come into is Tasmania.

“They do now have access to what would be over 95% of the Australian market, and I frankly think that should satisfy them,” he told the newspaper.

But Tasmanias stance is causing consternation in a number of other agricultural industries.

Queensland sugar producers have expressed concern about Australias A$200 million market in Canada.

The Australian sugar organisation, Canegrowers, general manager, Ian Ballantyne, urged the Federal and Tasmanian Governments to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible in the national interest.

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