Japan will remove, by 30 June, restrictions on US apple exports deemed illegal under global commerce rules.

In an agreement with Washington following the failure last November of Japan’s appeal against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling, both sides agreed this would be a “reasonable period of time to implement the recommendations” of the WTO disputes panel.

It said quarantine restrictions imposed on US apples to protect against fire blight, including bans on imports of apples near or from orchards where blight is detected, plus requirements that export orchards are inspected three times yearly for the disease and given post-harvest chlorine treatment, were excessive.