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US progresses WTO challenge against Indonesia

Beef Central, 18/03/2013

The United States is progressing its World Trade Organisation challenge against trade restrictions imposed by Indonesia on beef and a range of other agricultural imports.

The US has asked the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel to examine the restrictions applied by Indonesia to a range of horticultural products, animals, and animal products.

The development follows the failure of consultations between the US and Indonesia in late February to reach a resolution.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Indonesia had created "a complex web" of import licensing requirements that, along with quotas, had the effect of unfairly restricting US exports.

“These measures appear to be designed to protect Indonesia’s domestic agriculture industry,” Mr Kirk said.

“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.

“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.”

The US is claiming that through the  use of import licensing requirements and quotas, Indonesia is acting 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.

Included in its challenge are the import licensing and quota regimes that Indonesia applies to animals, beef and other animal product imports.

Its complaint notes that in December 2012, Indonesia announced drastic reductions in quotas for beef and other animal product imports, further restricting access to the Indonesian market.

In accordance with the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, the United States requested WTO consultations with Indonesia on January 10, 2013.

 

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