Trade Minister Todd McClay says he is extremely confident New Zealand has a strong case following Indonesia's decision to appeal a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling in favour of New Zealand beef and horticulture exports and says he expects Indonesia to meet their WTO obligations following the appeal.
New Zealand and the United States brought a case against Indonesia disputing 18 agricultural non-tariff barriers. The WTO ruled in favour of NZ and the US on all 18 disputed point in December last year.
“It is very common for WTO rulings of this nature to be appealed and we had expected this action,” Mr McClay says.
“New Zealand is a trading nation, trade liberalisation and fair access are essential for the continued growth and stability of our economy.”
“The Government remains committed to opposing any unfair impediments to trade and will continue to fight for the rights of our exporters to fairly access markets in all parts of the world.”
The Indonesian trade barriers are estimated to have cost the New Zealand beef sector up to a billion dollars of lost trade. As recently as 2010, Indonesia was New Zealand's second-largest beef export market by volume, worth $180 million a year. Certain horticulture exports have also been held back by the restrictions.
The barriers imposed by Indonesia include import prohibitions, use and sale restrictions, restrictive licence terms and a domestic purchase requirement.
“We enjoy close cooperation in a range of areas of mutual interest with Indonesia, but even close friends have occasional disagreements. The WTO helps insulate trade policy differences from wider bilateral relations,” Mr McClay says.