WTO rules against Indonesia in food import barriers case

The import restrictions cover products such as apples, grapes, potatoes, onions, flowers, juice, dried fruit, cattle, chicken and beef, the U.S. trade office said in March 2015 when challenging the measures.

By: Reuters | Geneva | Published:December 23, 2016 10:48 am

A World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute panel ruled against Indonesia on Thursday in twin cases brought by New Zealand and the United States against its import restrictions on food and animal products including beef and poultry. All 18 of Jakarta’s measures affecting imported horticulture, animals and animal products were prohibited under WTO rules dating to its predecessor body, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, the panel said.

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The import restrictions cover products such as apples, grapes, potatoes, onions, flowers, juice, dried fruit, cattle, chicken and beef, the U.S. trade office said in March 2015 when challenging the measures. New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay on Friday welcomed the ruling, saying the restrictions were estimated to have cost the country’s beef sector up to NZ$1 billion ($690.20 million).

“This is an important result for New Zealand’s agricultural exporters – and for trade fairness,” McClay said in a statement. The arbitrators urged Indonesia to bring its measures into conformity. All sides have 60 days to appeal any of the findings.

Indonesia will file an appeal against the WTO ruling, the country’s trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita told reporters in Jakarta on Friday. He added that the country has already implemented a “deregulation package”, without giving further details.

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