The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is officially requesting comments regarding its notice of January 10, 2013, that the United States is seeking consultations with the Government of the Republic of Indonesia under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement) concerning certain measures imposed by Indonesia on the importation of animals and animal products and horticultural products.

USTR said that, if the WTO consultations fail to resolve the matter, a WTO dispute settlement panel will be requested. USTR noted Indonesia imposes certain measures on the importation of animals and animal products and horticultural products by not permitting the automatic issue of import licenses and quotas, thereby severely restricting imports of these products. In particular, Indonesia imposes an import licensing regime for animal and animal products and horticultural products that require an importer to complete multiple steps prior to importing those products into Indonesia.

These licensing regimes have significant trade-restrictive effects on imports and are used to implement what appear to be WTO-inconsistent measures, USTR stated. The multi-step licensing process appears to be more administratively burdensome than necessary to administer the measure. The issuance of licenses appears to be delayed or refused by the Indonesian authorities on non-transparent grounds. In addition, the Indonesian licensing measures do not inform traders of the basis for granting licenses, and the licensing regimes do not appear to be administered in a uniform, impartial, and reasonable manner, because the measures are applied inconsistently and unpredictably, USTR said.

Interested persons should submit written comments concerning the issues raised in this dispute by March 14, 2013.  Information about the Federal Register notice is available here.