U.S. and NZ take on Indonesia to protect horticultural trade

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U.S. and NZ take on Indonesia to protect horticultural trade

The United States and New Zealand filed a joint complaint against Indonesia Thursday with the World Trade Organization, alleging unjustified and trade-restrictive requirements on horticultural and animal product imports.fruit_square

The two nations have requested a consultation by the WTO on recent modifications to Indonesia's import licensing requirements, which may create a non-competitive bias in favor of nationally produced goods.

The challenging comes as a follow up to consultations made by the U.S. and New Zealand last year on similar trade issues. Neither filing produced in a resolution.

In New Zealand's case, no dispute panel or mutual solution was ever established. In the U.S. case, a panel was establish but no action was taken.

After the August 2013 filing by the U.S., Indonesia amended its import licensing measures but did not leave its trade partners satisfied that it had resolved WTO inconsistencies.

Under the most recent claim, the nations have questioned pre-shipment inspection requirements, described as unreasonable and discriminatory, and alleged failure to properly publish changes on import licensing.

The filing against Indonesia claims these policies violate the Asian nation's obligations to GATT 1994, the Agreement on Agriculture, the Agreement on Import Licensing procedures and the Agreement on Pre-shipment Inspection.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative said such restrictions have prohibited the trade of fruits, vegetables, flowers, dried fruits and vegetables, juices, cattle, beef, poultry and other animal products.

"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," said United States Trade Representative Michael Froman.

"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."

The new claim against Indonesia initiates a formal WTO dispute and will provide 60 days to discuss the matter without the need for further litigation. If a resolution is not met in that time, a panel may be established to review the complaint.

Related stories: Indonesia to raise produce import quota volumes

Indonesian govt proposes season-based import regulations

Indonesian restrictions lead to “one big mess of juice and grape flesh”

Indonesian politician proposes full fruit import ban

Photo: www.shutterstock.com


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