Even as Japan submitted to the World Trade Organization (wto) a proposal to impose tariffs of about 30 per cent on us steel in retaliation for duties on steel imports the us introduced (it has now taken this proposal back) the Geneva-based trade body ruled on November 25, 2003 that Japan's quarantine restrictions on us apple imports lack scientific justification. The us had brought the case last May in response to restrictions Japan has imposed on the apple imports to prevent fire blight, a plant disease. An appellate panel upheld a July, 2003 decision of wto arbitrators that Japan had violated international rules.
While Japan's 'victory' over the us on steel duties may have soured a trifle, the ruling has implications for Australia, which uses the same argument as Japan to block apple imports from New Zealand.
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