The United States and New Zealand are celebrating a victory in a five-year battle to gain greater access to Indonesia’s market for beef, along with several other ag commodities.
In 2013 both countries launched a joint World Trade Organisation challenge against import prohibitions and sale restrictions introduced by Indonesia in 2011.
In late December a World Trade Organisation panel ruled that 18 import restrictions imposed by Indonesia on beef, poultry and various produce items violated global trade rules.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative argued that the barriers restricted the import of millions of dollars’ worth of American fruits and vegetables, beef and poultry and other agricultural and horticultural products.
New Zealand said the restrictions had also cost its farmers hundreds of millions of dollars in denied market access.
In beef terms alone, Indonesia was New Zealand’s second largest export market, taking 48,823 tonnes worth $185 million in 2010.
However, the import restrictions introduced by Indonesia in 2011 as it pushed to achieve self-sufficiency in beef production resulted in a 82 percent decline in NZ beef exports to Indonesia by 2015.
Indonesia has 60 days to challenge the decision through the WTO’s appellate body and the Indonesian Government says it will appeal.
“We’ll file an appeal since several regulations being sued by the US and New Zealand had been amended during the legal process,” Iman Pambagyo, Indonesian Trade Ministry spokesman told the Indonesian media last week.
He said the US and New Zealand’s complaints were submitted during the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).
The Indonesian Government is arguing that the WTO’s judgment effectively relates to old policies that were effective back during the SBY administration, but which have since been removed or regulated.
Other commodities affected by the ruling include include apples, grapes, oranges, potatoes, onions, flowers, juices and poultry.