ASOEX accusations are "not true", says Zespri

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New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri has defended itself following complaints recently made by the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX).

In April, ASOEX president Ronald Bown called on the General Directorate of International Economic Relations (DIRECON) for a national strategy to defend Chilean kiwifruit exports to ensure a global trading environment without “obstacles”.

“It’s relevant to have competition without obstacles from any participant on the international level, which isn’t always the case with Zespri which has a dominant position in markets, privileged by the legal status that protects it,” he said in a release.

The association later detailed its complaints against the organization, including allegations that Zespri is effectively blocking the entry of Chilean kiwifruit into multiple Asian markets.

Now Zespri has hit back at these claims, saying they are unfounded.

"Mr Bown’s accusations are not true," said Zespri spokeswoman Rachel Lynch.

"Over the past few years we’ve repeatedly asked Mr Bown for information to back up his claims. He has not done so and our offer to review any information he can provide still stands."

She said that Zespri's success in the market reflects "ongoing investment in marketing, innovation and quality systems over many years."

"It’s clear Mr Bown sees kiwifruit as competing against only other kiwifruit in the international marketplace, while we at Zespri see our competition as the entire fruit bowl," she said.

"We call on all kiwifruit producers to provide the highest-quality, best-tasting product to collectively grow our market share around the world."

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