21 Feb 2017

Indonesia-NZ trade beef reignites

8:05 pm on 21 February 2017

Indonesia has reignited a trade dispute with New Zealand, lodging an appeal against a World Trade Organisation ruling.

A black and white bull looks through a fence.

A cattle beast looks through a fence: Indonesia and New Zealand have clashed over beef sales. Photo: 123RF

The WTO last year upheld complaints from both New Zealand and the United States about Indonesia's restrictions on importing food and animal products.

Trade Minister Todd McClay said he was extremely confident New Zealand has a strong case.

"It is very common for WTO rulings of this nature to be appealed and we had expected this action."

The barriers, which include sale restrictions, restrictive licence terms and a requirement to buy domestic products, are estimated to have cost New Zealand's beef industry up to $1 billion in lost trade.

It has long been an irritant in relations between the two countries after New Zealand beef exports dropped by 80 percent when Indonesia introduced the restrictions.

Mr McClay said they enjoyed close cooperation with Indonesia, but "even close friends have occasional disagreements".

"The government remains committed to opposing any unfair impediments to trade and will continue to fight for the rights of our exporters to fairly access markets in all parts of the world."

Former Prime Minister John Key raised the matter when he visited Indonesia last year and said at the time both countries wanted to resolve the dispute.

In the end, however, they were unable to reach a deal.