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U.S. Trade Representative Kirk Seeks World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement on Indonesia’s Import Restrictions on Horticultural and Animal Products

03/14/2013

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced today that the United States has requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel to examine Indonesia’s trade-restrictive measures applied to horticultural products, animals, and animal products. Indonesia has created a complex web of import licensing requirements that, along with quotas, have the effect of unfairly restricting U.S. exports. These measures appear to be designed to protect Indonesia’s domestic agriculture industry. 

“Today’s step reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting the rights of our growers, farmers, ranchers and processors to compete on a level playing field,” said Ambassador Kirk. “Indonesia’s import licensing requirements and quotas adversely affect a wide range of American agricultural exports and severely reduce Indonesian consumers’ access to high-quality American products. We will continue to ensure that our trading partners play by the rules and fight to support each job here at home affected by unfair restrictions abroad.”

Through its measures establishing and administering these import licensing requirements and quotas, Indonesia appears to have acted inconsistently with several of its WTO obligations, including under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), the Agreement on Agriculture, and the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures.

In accordance with the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, the United States requested WTO consultations with Indonesia on January 10, 2013. The United States and Indonesia held consultations on February 21-22, 2013, but the consultations did not resolve the concerns.

The Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), created by the Obama Administration to enhance U.S. trade enforcement capabilities, provided key support to the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s monitoring and enforcement unit in the development and initiation of this dispute.

Background:

In late 2011, Indonesia passed regulations establishing trade restricting import licensing requirements for horticultural products. Those regulations were revised in September 2012 to include even more onerous requirements for horticultural imports. The affected products include, but are not limited to, fruits, vegetables, flowers, dried fruits and vegetables and juices.

Indonesia has long maintained similar import licensing and quota regimes for animals, beef and other animal product imports. In December 2012, Indonesia announced drastic reductions in quotas for beef and other animal product imports, further restricting access to the Indonesian market.

To see a copy of the panel request, visit USTR’s website here.