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August 30, 2013
Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced two important developments in the ongoing U.S. challenge under the dispute settlement provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to Indonesia’s trade-restrictive measures applied to horticultural products, animals, and animal products. First, New Zealand is joining the dispute by filing its own request for consultations addressed to Indonesia’s measures. Second, the United States is filing a revised consultations request to address recent modifications to Indonesia’s measures and to facilitate coordination with co-complainant New Zealand. The United States filed an initial consultations request earlier this year.
“Consultations with Indonesia earlier this year failed to resolve our concerns with Indonesia’s unjustified and trade-restrictive import licensing system,” said Ambassador Froman. “To the contrary, although Indonesia has revised its measures, they continue to pose a serious impediment to U.S. agricultural exports. Accordingly, today the United States is submitting a revised consultations request addressed to Indonesia’s most recent measures. I am also pleased that New Zealand, which is similarly harmed by Indonesia’s restrictions, has decided to join the dispute by filing its own request for consultations.
“The Obama Administration is committed to protecting the rights of our farmers, ranchers and processors to compete on a level playing field,” Ambassador Froman added. “The Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), created by this Administration to enhance U.S. trade enforcement capabilities, has played a significant role in enabling us to follow through on this commitment.”
Indonesia has adopted non-automatic import licensing requirements and quotas that serve as serious impediments to trade in horticultural products, animals, and animal products. As set out in the U.S. request for consultations, these measures appear to be inconsistent with Indonesia’s WTO obligations, including under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures, the Agreement on Agriculture, and the Agreement on Preshipment Inspection. Since the time the United States filed its original consultations request with Indonesia in January 2013, Indonesia has revised its import licensing and quota measures. These changes did not remove the trade restrictions and thus failed to address U.S. concerns. Instead, Indonesia’s revised measures include new laws on food, beef, and other agricultural products that contain further import-restrictive provisions. The affected products include, but are not limited to, fruits, vegetables, flowers, dried fruits and vegetables, juices, cattle, beef, and other animal products.
Filing a revised consultations request, in coordination with New Zealand’s filing of its own request, will allow the consultations with Indonesia to be held together. If the United States and New Zealand subsequently were to request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel, the two disputes would be adjudicated before a single panel.
The revised U.S. consultations request is available on USTR’s website here.