The World Trade Organization (WTO) has upheld challenges brought against Indonesia by the US and New Zealand over import restrictions on food and animal products including beef and poultry.

The US and New Zealand jointly brought the case in 2013 over a range of barriers imposed on imports since 2011 including use and sale restrictions, restrictive licence terms and a domestic purchase requirement.

The WTO dispute panel ruled yesterday (22 December) all 18 of Indonesia’s measures were prohibited under its rules dating to back to the WTO’s predecessor body, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT.

New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay said today the barriers are estimated to have cumulatively cost the New Zealand beef sector alone between half-a-billion and a billion New Zealand dollars. “As recently as 2010, Indonesia was New Zealand’s second-largest beef export market by volume, worth NZD180m (US$124m) a year,” McClay said.

“As a result of this process, we have already seen some improvements to Indonesia’s regulations and gains for New Zealand exporters to Indonesia,” McClay added. “These will only improve following implementation of the WTO decision.”

US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said: “Since 2012, Indonesia has maintained an untenable import licensing programme, harming the ability of US producers to sell a wide range of American-grown products in the Indonesian market – from potatoes to beef to grapes to oranges to poultry. Importantly, the WTO panel findings will discourage Indonesia from simply substituting new trade-distorting approaches for the measures repealed, restoring American farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to compete.”

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According to the WTO ruling, all sides have 60 days to appeal. Indonesia’s trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita has indicated his country will appeal. He reportedly said Indonesia had already implemented a “deregulation package”, without giving further details.