Current WTO disputes

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Disputes with New Zealand as a Principal Complainant

Indonesia — Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Product;

WT/DS/477(external link)

In 2013, New Zealand initiated WTO proceedings against Indonesia in respect of a range of trade restrictive import measures. The challenged measures were significantly impacting New Zealand beef and horticultural exports. New Zealand beef exports, for instance, had fallen by over 80 percent. Indonesia had previously been our second-largest beef export market by volume, worth $180 million in trade per year.

The case covered a range of inter-related trade barriers imposed by Indonesia on agricultural imports since 2011. There were over a dozen separate measures. These include:

  • A prohibition on all imports of beef secondary cuts and offal.
  • Restrictions limiting the sale of imported prime beef to hotels, restaurants and caterers. Thus, imported beef cannot be sold directly to consumers through key retail outlets (such as supermarkets and traditional markets).
  • A requirement to purchase a certain percentage of domestic beef in order to import from overseas (a “domestic purchase requirement”).
  • Restrictions on importing more or different products than specified on import licences (“fixed licence terms”).
  • Incentives to be conservative in requesting import volumes or risk of having the ability to import revoked (an “80% import requirement”).
  • Prohibitions on importing certain horticultural products during the Indonesian domestic harvest season, when the domestic price is above a certain level, or when harvested earlier than a certain period before importation.
  • An import licensing regime that effectively closes the Indonesian market to imports for several months per year. This is due to rigid import licence application windows at the beginning of licensing semesters that don’t account for the time it takes to prepare and ship product to Indonesia.

New Zealand held WTO dispute settlement consultations (the first phase of the WTO dispute settlement process) with Indonesia in relation to our concerns in 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately, those consultations did not resolve the dispute.

On 18 March 2015, New Zealand requested the WTO Dispute Settlement Body to establish a panel to hear this dispute. New Zealand’s Panel Request was made alongside a Panel Request by the United States, with whom we are co-complainants. The following 14 WTO Members are third parties in the dispute: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, Norway, Paraguay, Singapore and Thailand.

On 13 November 2015, New Zealand filed its first written submission to the WTO Panel. The first oral hearing with the Panel was held in Geneva from 1-3 February 2016. A second written submission was then filed on 2 March with a second oral hearing with the Panel held from 13-14 April. In the course of the litigation, New Zealand has responded to 120 questions from the Panel.

On 22 December 2016 the WTO Panel ruled in New Zealand's favour in respect of all 18 measures challenged by New Zealand. The WTO panel concluded that each of the measures at issue are inconsistent with Article XI:1 of the GATT 1994, which prohibits measures that prohibit or restrict imports of goods.

Indonesia appealed the Panel decision to the WTO Appellate Body on 17 February 2017. New Zealand filed its response submission on 7 March 2017 and subsequently made oral submissions before the Appellate Body in Geneva. On 9 November 2017, the Appellate Body upheld the key findings of the WTO Panel, confirming that all 18 of the challenged measures are inconsistent with Article XI:1 of the GATT 1994.

Indonesia has committed to bring its measures into compliance. While it has made significant progress to date (including by removing the import ban on certain beef cuts), some measures remain non-complaint. New Zealand continues to work with Indonesia to achieve full, commercially meaningful, compliance.

New Zealand Opening Statement before the Appellate Body [PDF, 79 KB]

New Zealand Written Submission  to the Appellate Body [PDF, 537 KB]

New Zealand Opening Statement at the Second Panel Meeting [PDF, 179 KB]

New Zealand Closing Statement at the Second Panel Meeting [PDF, 46 KB]

New Zealand Second Written Submission [PDF, 6.2 MB]

New Zealand Opening Statement at the First Panel Meeting [PDF, 695 KB]

New Zealand First Written Submission [PDF, 2.8 MB]

New Zealand Panel Request  [PDF, 59 KB]

Second New Zealand Request for Consultations [PDF, 33 KB] 

First New Zealand Request for Consultations [PDF, 36 KB]

Disputes with New Zealand as a Third Party

Below is a list of disputes where New Zealand is currently participating as a third party:

Further information in some of the cases is provided below.

Indonesia – Chicken Meat and Products

WT/DS484(external link)

On 3 December 2015, a WTO dispute settlement panel was established to hear Brazil's complaint challenging Indonesia’s restrictions on the importation of chicken products. Some of the measures challenged by Brazil, while focused on chicken meat, were similar to those regarding agricultural imports raised by New Zealand and the United States in the WTO dispute Indonesia – Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Products. New Zealand made submissions to the Panel in writing and orally at the third party hearing held in July 2016.

On 17 October 2017, the Panel released its report finding that Indonesia had acted inconsistently with WTO rules. In 2019, Brazil initiated compliance proceedings against Indonesia on the basis that Indonesia had failed to comply with elements of the Panel report. New Zealand participated in these compliance proceedings. In November 2020, the compliance panel found that Indonesia had failed to comply with a number of the Panel’s findings. Both Indonesia and Brazil have appealed the Panel’s compliance decision.

New Zealand's Third Party Written Submission to the Panel [PDF, 184 KB]

New Zealand’s Third Party Oral Statement to the Panel [PDF, 55 KB]

United States — Tariff Measures on Certain Goods from China

WT/DS543(external link)

New Zealand participated as a third party in a case brought by China against the United States concerning tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese goods under Section 301-310 of the US Trade Act of 1974. The Panel Report was released in September 2020. The US has appealed the decision.

New Zealand’s Third Party Oral Statement [PDF, 84 KB]

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