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Indonesia launches WTO dispute over EU duties on biodiesel imports

Published 08/15/2023, 10:34 AM
Updated 08/16/2023, 05:30 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo is seen at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters before a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, October 5, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has requested World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute consultations with the European Union regarding the bloc's imposition of duties on imports of biodiesel from the Southeast Asia nation, the global trade body said on Tuesday.

The EU is Indonesia's third-largest destination for palm oil products and is an important market for its biodiesel, a product made from palm oil. Indonesia is the world's biggest palm oil producer.

The request was circulated to WTO members on Aug. 15, the body said, adding that Indonesia argues that the EU countervailing duties and the investigation that led to their imposition are inconsistent with WTO provisions.

The EU has imposed countervailing duties of between 8% and 18% for Indonesian biodiesel since 2019, according to Djatmiko Bris Witjaksono, director general of international trade cooperations at Indonesia's trade ministry.

"The imposition of the import duties has caused serious damage to Indonesian industry, especially when the global economy has only started to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," Djatmiko said on Wednesday.

Countervailing duties are imposed under WTO rules with the goal of neutralising the negative effects of subsidies.

Indonesia's total biodiesel exports dropped 28% in 2019 from a year earlier, to 1.2 million tonnes according to its statistics bureau.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo is seen at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters before a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, October 5, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

The EU accounted for about 52% of its 2018 biodiesel shipments and 45% in 2019.

Indonesia shipped 435,827 tonnes of biodiesel in 2022, with 22.47% of that shipped to the EU.

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