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Indonesia to drop NZ import restrictions

Indonesia has lost an appeal ruling at the World Trade Organisation in a dispute with New Zealand and the United States over its restrictions on imports of food and animal products including beef and poultry. The two countries brought the case to the WTO panel as the move by Indonesia was a violation of trade agreements.

The WTO decision comes as a relief to both countries, and in particular New Zealand; Indonesia had been the second largest beef market with almost 50,000 tonnes worth of meat and offal are imported.

The WTO has again told Indonesia to its drop the import barriers, estimated to have cost New Zealand's beef sector up to a billion dollars in lost trade. Former Prime Minister John Key raised the issue with his Indonesian counterpart during a visit in 2016. Indonesia appealed that decision in February this year and the appeal was declined in a ruling dated October 12 in Geneva, couched in the WTO's cautious legalese. Indonesia appealed the decision in February.

"Indonesia has also failed to publish or provide relevant information, including overall quota details, sufficient for governments and traders to become acquainted with them", the original request for consultations said.

Indonesia has been slowly relaxing restrictions over the past year, and trade has been picking up-particularly for beef offal.

Indonesia was told the lift restrictions on imports of food and animal products including poultry.



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