Summary of Australia's involvement in disputes currently before the World Trade Organization

Updated November 2010

Australia as a defending party (respondent)

Australia — Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples from New Zealand (DS367)

New Zealand requested consultations with Australia on 31 August 2007 in relation to Australia's measures affecting the importation of apples from New Zealand. Consultations were held on 4 October 2007. The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established a panel on 21 January 2008 at New Zealand's request. In its statements to the DSB, Australia reiterated its position that its measures are WTO-consistent and indicated its preference to resolve the dispute bilaterally.

On 12 March 2008, the panel was composed of the following three individuals: Mr Attie Swart (Chair), Mr William Ehlers and Ms Kirsten Hillman. Key dates in the panel process include:

* Official circulation of the panel's final report to the WTO Membership and general public will occur following its translation into the WTO official languages.

Upon composition of the panel, Australia submitted a request for the panel to make a preliminary ruling as to whether New Zealand's panel request complied with the requirements of Article 6.2 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). The panel issued its preliminary ruling to the parties on 6 June 2008.

Australia lodged its first written submission in Geneva on 18 July 2008, in response to New Zealand's complainant submission.

Both parties participated in the first panel hearing in Geneva on 2-3 September 2008.

On 19 December 2008, Australia and New Zealand jointly advised the panel that New Zealand would no longer pursue its claim against one of the measures at issue, based on Australia's advice that it does not impose such a measure. See: Joint letter to the Panel. (also available in pdf).
In the first quarter of 2009, the panel consulted independent experts on the scientific and technical issues in this dispute, and both parties commented on the experts' replies.

Australia then lodged its rebuttal submission with the panel on 21 April 2009.

The meeting with the experts and the second oral hearing took place in Geneva on 30 June - 2 July 2009.

The panel issued its interim report to the parties, on a confidential basis, on 31 March 2010. In April, both Australia and New Zealand requested the panel to review certain aspects of its report before its finalisation. The panel then issued its final report to the parties on 27 May 2010, again on a confidential basis. The Panel report was then translated into the other two WTO languages (French and Spanish) and officially circulated to the WTO membership on 9 August 2010. The report can be viewed on the WTO website. On 10 August, the Australian Government announced that it would appeal the Panel's decision to the WTO Appellate Body (see media release: Australia to appeal WTO apples decision).

Australia lodged its notice of appeal and its Appellant Submission in Geneva on 31 August and 7 September 2010 respectively.

On 14 September 2010, the Appellate Body granted Australia and New Zealand’s joint request that the oral hearing in the appellate proceedings be open to the public, agreeing that the modalities for the hearing suggested by Australia and New Zealand would operate to protect confidential information.

On 15 September 2010, New Zealand filed a cross appeal to the Appellate Body on certain issues of law covered in the panel report and certain legal interpretations developed by the panel. Australia lodged an appellee submission in Geneva on 27 September 2010, which responds to the New Zealand’s cross-appeal on the limited issue of whether New Zealand’s claim of ‘undue delay’ was within the Panel’s term of reference.

The Appellate Body hearing took place in Geneva on 11-12 October 2010.