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United States Challenges Indonesia’s Ongoing Import Restrictions on Horticultural Products, Animals, and Animal Products

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced that the United States is requesting new WTO dispute settlement consultations with Indonesia to address Indonesia’s import licensing restrictions on horticultural products, animals, and animal products.  The United States previously requested consultations on prior versions of Indonesia’s trade restrictive measures.  The United States is now requesting additional consultations to address recent modifications to Indonesia’s import licensing restrictions.  Our co-complainant New Zealand, with whom we have been coordinating, is also filing a consultations request today.

“Indonesia revised its import licensing requirements in response to action by the United States at the WTO.  Unfortunately, the revised system still appears to breach WTO rules and restrict U.S. agricultural exports.  Accordingly, we will continue to press Indonesia to bring its import licensing system into compliance with WTO rules so that U.S. farmers, ranchers, and businesses are able to have the access to Indonesia’s market that we negotiated in the WTO,” said Ambassador Froman.

Background:

Indonesia has adopted non-automatic import licensing requirements that impede imports of horticultural products, animals, and animal products into Indonesia.  The affected U.S. products include fruits, vegetables, flowers, dried fruits and vegetables, juices, cattle, beef, poultry, and other animal products.  As set out in the U.S. request for consultations, these measures appear to be inconsistent with Indonesia’s WTO obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures, the Agreement on Agriculture, and the Agreement on Preshipment Inspection.   

The United States previously requested consultations in January 2013 and August 2013 regarding prior versions of Indonesia’s import licensing restrictions.  After the August 2013 request for consultations, Indonesia replaced and amended its import licensing measures.  These changes did not remove the apparent WTO inconsistencies and introduced new restrictions.  New Zealand also requested consultations on the prior version of Indonesia’s measures and is filing a new consultations request today.

Filing the new consultations request, in coordination with New Zealand, will facilitate the resolution of the dispute by addressing the current version of Indonesia’s import licensing regime.  If the United States and New Zealand subsequently request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel, the panel would examine the most recent version of Indonesia’s measures, as described in the new consultations request.  

USTR’s Monitoring and Enforcement unit in the Office of the General Counsel developed this trade enforcement action with assistance from, and in close coordination with, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), which was established by President Obama to enhance U.S. trade enforcement capabilities.

See a copy of the revised U.S. consultations request here.