U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced today that the World Trade Organization (WTO) confirmed that Indonesia’s import licensing regimes for animals, animal products, and horticultural products are inconsistent with WTO rules. 

“This is a resounding victory for the United States that should result in increased export opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers, as well as Indonesian consumer access to high-quality U.S. agriculture products,” according to the press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Since 2012, Indonesia has maintained unjustified and trade-restrictive licensing regimes for the importation of animals, animal products, and horticultural products.  The U.S. products that have been affected by these Indonesian regimes includes poultry; cattle; beef; other animal products; fruits; vegetables; flowers; dried fruits and vegetables; and juices.

At the request of USTR, the WTO established a panel to examine the U.S. compliant in 2015.  In a report publicly released in December 2016, the panel in the dispute found that each of the challenged measures was inconsistent with the General Agreement with Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 because they restrict or prohibit importation of animals, animal products, and horticulture.  The WTO panel also found that Indonesia failed to demonstrate that any of the challenged measures are justified under GATT 1994.

Indonesia then in February 2017 appealed the panel’s findings. Today’s report confirms the panel’s finding that each of the challenged measures is WTO-inconsistent.

Indonesian is the fourth most populous country in the world and an increasingly important export market for many U.S. agricultural products.   In 2016, Indonesia was the ninth-largest U.S. agricultural export destination by value. The United States exported over $2.6 billion in agricultural products to Indonesia and imported over $2.8 billion in agricultural products from Indonesia.  In 2016, exports of animal and horticultural products affected by Indonesia’s import licensing regimes totaled $170 million.