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Monday, December 12, 2005

Optimism Over Taiwan Trade Mission

Optimism Over Taiwan Trade Mission - Steven Kons, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Primary Industries Minster Steve Kons is optimistic about the outcome of a trade delegation he led to Taiwan last week.

Mr Kons said the delegation, including representatives from Fruitgrowers Tasmania, held discussions with senior Taiwanese Government and departmental officials in a last-minute attempt to resolve outstanding issues regarding Taiwan?s new Queensland Fruit Fly (Q fly) legislation that will bring Australia?s (and therefore Tasmania?s) fruit trade to Taiwan to a halt from 1 January 2006.

?Unless there is a quick resolution of these issues, Tasmania stands to lose its cherry exports to Taiwan worth more than $2 million a year, with the potential to also impact on apple exports worth more than $5 million.

?At meetings with Taiwan?s Director of Plant Quarantine and the Deputy Minister, Council of Agriculture, I requested an extension of the current implementation date of 1 January 2006.

?This would allow exports to continue while Taiwan undertook the necessary legislative processes to implement Australia?s Q fly protocols.

?The meetings were friendly and constructive with a genuine understanding of Tasmania?s situation being shown.

?It was also evident that the Taiwanese were generally accepting of Tasmania?s Q fly area freedom status at a technical level.?

Mr Kons said the success of the trip highlighted the strong and growing economic links established since a 1980s visit to Tasmania by Taiwanese quarantine officers.

?It serves as a clear vindication of the Tasmanian Government?s strong focus on biosecurity and the budget initiatives to further strengthen quarantine efforts.

?The fact we have a good story to tell on biosecurity was accepted and acceptance by Taiwan of Tasmania?s Queensland fruity fly freedom indicates to the world that Tasmania is a leader in this area.?

Mr Kons said Deputy Minister Hu expressed his appreciation of the delegation?s visit to Taiwan, and gave a clear indication the 1 January date could be extended to allow continued trade, although it would be premature and irresponsible to confirm any positive outcome.

?To support the request from the Tasmanian delegation, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and the Australian Commerce and Industry Office (ACIO) will undertake further initiatives to encourage Taiwan to grant an extension of time.?

Mr Kons said he was grateful for the efforts of ACIO in helping the delegation during the visit.

The delegation included the head of Tasmania?s quarantine service, Danny Reardon, and Tim Reid and Ken Bell from Fruitgrowers Tasmania.


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