TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Bustanul Arifin, a professor of agricultural economics at Lampung University, mentioned 13 countries being free riders on the horticulture dispute between Indonesia and the United State and New Zealand in World Trade Organization (WTO). Those countries hid behind the US and New Zealand to dig benefits had Indonesia experienced loss.
“Those 13 countries do not join in the case, but they secretly support [the US and New Zealand] and form a coalition,” said Bustanul when met at Jakarta, Wednesday, August 8.
The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Norwegia, Taiwan, Paraguay, and India. Ironically, two neighboring countries, Singapore and Thailand, also back the US and New Zealand against Indonesia. The number rose to 14 since Uni Europe also resisted Indonesia’s policy.
Each country opposed Indonesia due to their own interest in trade matters. For example, Bustanul added, Thailand had a concern for its vegetables import to Indonesia. “So, there are many free-riders in this case,” he said.
The agricultural economics groups, Bustanul said, had reminded the government since 2012 that Indonesia might be threatened with a lawsuit that would be challenged by the US and New Zealand.
In 2013, the government issued two policies, Domestic Trade Minister Regulation No. 16/2013 on the import of horticultural goods and No. 46/2013 on import and export regulation of livestock products. The US and New Zealand protested the two rules.
Meanwhile, the agriculture expert from the Indonesian Political Economy Association, Khudori, suggested the government explain the unchanged policies and the arguments to WTO and the US. Otherwise, the country would be further furious and that other countries might follow.
“Indonesia should explain why the US and New Zealand are treated differently than other countries throughout 2013-2015,” said Khudori, adding that similar appeals might be challenged by those 14 nations if Indonesia did not actively take firm measures.