Gov’t to Defend National Policies at Multilateral Level in Response to EU’s Case against Indonesia

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 16 Januari 2021
Category: News
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Minister of Trade Muhammad Lutfi holds a virtual press conference on nickel dispute between Indonesia and the EU at the WTO, Friday (15/1). (Photo by: Ministry of Trade PR)

The Indonesian Government will continue to fight for the country’s interests at the multilateral level, including by maintaining the policy related to raw materials, Minister of Trade Muhammad Lutfi said.

The European Union (EU) filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Indonesia’s policy regarding certain raw materials, coded DS 592.

The Government, the Minister said, regretted the EU’s move on 14 January 2021 that requested the WTO to establish a panel to adjudicate on the case.

“Indonesia is ready to maintain its position in the dispute resolution forum at the WTO. The Government and related parties will continue to coordinate to ensure that steps and efforts to increase added value and national competitiveness will always be a priority agenda going forward,” the Minister said, Friday (15/1).

The Government viewed that the EU has misunderstood and misinterpreted Indonesia’s policies, even though this was clearly conveyed during the 2020 consultation process.

However, Lutfi said, Indonesia believes that the WTO’s dispute resolution forum is the right place to look into the policies of its members, whether they are in accordance with WTO principles.

“Indonesia as a country that upholds the law will serve the demands of the European Union with dignity. The Indonesian Government also highly appreciates the European Union and is committed to following the standard process according to WTO rules which will begin on 25 January 2021,” Lutfi said.

In the future, Indonesia also has no objections and is ready to collaborate with the EU in creating added value in the steel sector.

Indonesia is the second largest steel producer in the world after China. In January-November 2020, the steel sector was the 3rd largest contributor to exports after palm oil and coal with a value of US$ 9.6 billion. This is part of the Indonesian transformation from a country producing raw and semi-finished goods to a producer of high-tech industrial and industrial goods.

The Government will also make efforts to oversee the litigation process to resolve this case and keep open further communications with the EU.

The Minister also stated that Indonesia is ready to provide further explanation to the EU on the policies, including the management of natural mineral resources.

The Government believes that the mineral resource management policies stipulated in the existing legislation and regulations aim to maintain the sustainability of mineral natural resources. In addition, it can also encourage Indonesia’s participation in global value chains that will support the national economy and improve people’s welfare.

In essence, the Government believes that the policies undertaken are in accordance with international commitments or principles.

On the DS 592 dispute case, the EU previously submitted a request for consultation on 22 November 2019 in response to the implementation of the nickel ore export ban by the Indonesian Government starting 1 January 2020.

The EU considered that the Indonesian Government’s policy violates a number of WTO provisions and has a negative impact on the competitiveness of steel industry in the EU.

The request for the consultation meeting was approved by Indonesia on 29 November 2019 and the meeting was held on 30-31 January 2020. (PR of Ministry of Trade/UN) (FI/MMB)   

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