(Greens-Media) Greens and farmers call US trade deal a bad apple

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 20/08/2004 - 21:27

The US Free Trade Agreement will result in our quarantine standards being challenged by US trade negotiators seeking greater access for US produce, Greens Senator Kerry Nettle and Peter Darley, Chairman of the NSW Apple and Pear Growers' Association, claimed today.

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Edwards, Jon (Sen K. Nettle)
Jon.Edwards@aph.gov.au
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GREENS-MEDIA
http://www.altnews.com.au/greens/
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Wednesday August 18 2004

Speaking from an orchard outside Orange in central western NSW, Senator Nettle said "The Free Trade Agreement with the US has left Australian farmers without the promised market access, and shouldering an unacceptable quarantine risk."

"The FTA creates joint US-Australia committees to make decisions about quarantine processes."

"These new quarantine committees have to take trade objectives into account in their decision-making, rather than quarantine standards being based on independent science."

"The potential for the US to pressure us to weaken our quarantine standards will be enormous," said Senator Nettle.

"Weakening our quarantine standards would be disastrous for Australian orchardists and other primary producers," said Peter Darley.

"The US is host to many diseases, viruses and pests that are absent from Australia - not least of which is Fire Blight. Any disease outbreak would cost our industry dearly in terms of lost produce and lost market access."

"The promotion of trade and the determination of quarantine standards should be kept separate. Australia's farmers deserve science-based risk assessment, which is now jeopardised because of the US trade deal," said Mr Darley.

"The Greens voted against the US trade deal, which was supported by both major parties," said Senator Nettle. "We are appalled that the major parties supported the FTA, given their stated commitment to protecting Australia's quarantine standards."

More information:
Georgia Miller 0400 803 281 or
Jon Edwards 0428 213 146

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