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FEDERAL TRADE RULING MAY SQUASH AMERICA'S LOVE FOR KIWIS CHARGES NEW ZEALAND FRUIT MARKETING BOARD

FEDERAL TRADE RULING MAY SQUASH AMERICA'S LOVE FOR KIWIS CHARGES
 NEW ZEALAND FRUIT MARKETING BOARD
 WASHINGTON, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- New Zealand kiwifruit suppliers today reacted with disappointment over an International Trade Commission (ITC) anti-dumping ruling and expressed concern that the action threatens to hurt California and New Zealand growers and U.S. consumers.
 Hillary Brick, director of North American operations for the New Zealand Fruit Marketing Board stated: "We are disappointed, but not altogether surprised by today's ruling. Unfortunately, the commissioners reviewed this petition under a narrow focus and did not take into account the potential impact this decision may have on both New Zealand and California kiwifruit growers. We hoped the Commission would have focused on the positive aspects of this issue: the U.S.-New Zealand complementary growing seasons, the New Zealand track record developing consumer demand for this product in the U.S., and the absence of any significant evidence of under-selling by New Zealand suppliers."
 The ITC ruling results from an anti-dumping petition filed against the New Zealand growers by the California Kiwifruit
Commission. The petition was filed after a shipment of New Zealand kiwifruit mistakenly arrived on the West Coast in December 1990 after Japanese importers reneged on an agreement to buy its cargo. This one-time incident angered California growers whose growing season normally is from October to May.
 New Zealand sells 11 percent of its kiwifruit crop to the U.S. Because it is grown in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand-supplied kiwifruit is exported to the U.S. during the off-season for domestic growers, assuring consumers a year-round supply of the fruit.
 In an effort to help create a greater demand for kiwifruit, New Zealand growers in the early 1980s helped develop and promote the industry in California. The result has been a growing market for the kiwifruit, with annual sales of $140 million, and 4,500 jobs in
California. Many American fruit marketing executives now fear, however, that instead of aiding U.S. growers, the ITC ruling will ultimately damage the domestic industry by raising prices and decreasing consumer demand for the fruit.
 Brick stated: "Despite today's ruling, New Zealanders are committed to supporting the U.S. market for kiwifruit and will continue to be an important presence in this market." She added that no decision has been made yet regarding an appeal of either the ITC or an earlier Department of Commerce ruling.
 -0- 5/15/92
 /CONTACT: Charles Miller for the New Zealand Fruit Marketing Board, 202-289-0800/ CO: New Zealand Fruit Marketing Board; International Trade
 Commission ST: District of Columbia, California IN: FOD SU: EXE


DS -- DC035 -- 0977 05/15/92 17:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 15, 1992
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