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Reaping What we Sow

Indonesia Remains Defiant in Face of WTO Complaint by U.S. for Banning the Import of 13 Horticultural Products

(2/11/2013) The Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa has described the ban on the import of 13 horticultural products for the coming six month as necessary to protect local producers.

Quoted by Bisnis Bali, Hatta Rajasa said, “We must give protection to local horticultural products.”

Speaking in Jakarta on Thursday, February 7, 2013, he said the import ban was needed as local farmers have more than enough produce to meet local demand.

The Minister added: “So, what’s wrong with providing farmers protection? If someone wants to file a complaint, we will answer it."

Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture, Suswono, said the government was optimistic that it would win a U.S. complaint filed with the World Trade Organization (WTO) limiting the import of agricultural products into Indonesia.

“If there noises from the U.S.A. protesting. Go Ahead. But, we have already prepared a response. Because of this we are very optimistic that if America is fair, they will accept our explanation,” said Suwono.

The Indonesian government has employed a consultant to represent the national position before the WTO who have given Indonesia 60 days to make a formal response to the U.S. protest. If the WTO rules in the USA's favor, the case then goes to joint mandatory arbitration between Indonesia and the USA.

The U.S. is protesting Indonesia’s ban on the importation of 13 horticultural products that include potatoes, cabbage, carrots, chilies, pineapples, melons, bananas, mangoes, papaya, durian, Chrysanthemums, orchids and Helliconia.

The Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Trade issued the importation ban in a joint decree in 2012.

The complaint filed by the U.S.A. with the WTO alleges that Indonesia’s practice of special licenses and quotas for the import of certain agricultural products interferes with free trade and is tantamount to an import ban.