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WTO Case Against Indonesia’s Import Restrictions Again Subject of USTR Inquiry

Thursday, May 09, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is again providing an opportunity for comments on the issues raised in a World Trade Organization dispute against Indonesia’s non-automatic import licensing regime for horticultural products, animals and animal products. The WTO recently established a dispute settlement panel in this case, and interested parties have until June 2 to submit comments on the relevant issues.

USTR states that, for horticultural products, an Indonesian importer must first obtain a horticultural product import recommendation certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture, which considers factors such as production and availability of similar products domestically, domestic consumption of the product, and potential of the imported product to distort the market. Second, the importer must apply to receive a designation as a producer importer or registered importer of horticultural products from the Ministry of Trade. Third, the importer must apply to the Ministry of Trade for an import license for each imported product by submitting the RIPH certificate and the designation.

For animals and animal products, an importer must first receive an import approval recommendation from the Ministry of Agriculture. Once this recommendation has been received, the importer must apply for an import license with the Ministry of Trade, which only allows the import if, among other factors, domestic production and supply of the product do not meet “demand for public consumption at reasonable price.” Indonesia’s government also sets quotas for animals and animal products twice a year, which are enforced through the import licensing regime.

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