Indonesia’s decision to ban nickel ore exports and impose restrictions on nickel ore processing has encountered a complex challenge, particularly from the European Union (EU). The EU has taken a significant step by initiating consultations on the formulation of an Enforcement Regulation for international trade, specifically addressing the dispute concerning Indonesia’s ban on nickel ore exports.
This development follows Indonesia’s decision to appeal against its loss in a trade dispute with Europe at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The EU’s official website states that the Enforcement Regulation empowers the EU to take countermeasures against trade rule violations committed by other countries that detrimentally affect the commercial interests of European nations.
The Enforcement Regulation serves as a tool to block dispute settlement procedures, including those outlined in various multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements. Such measures are intended to prevent the EU from being bound by any final decisions that may emerge from these dispute settlement mechanisms.
Stakeholders within the European Commission have been granted a window of opportunity until August 11, 2023, to provide their viewpoints on the utilization of the EU’s Enforcement Regulation in the context of this specific case. The potential actions that may be considered include imposing tariffs or implementing quantitative restrictions on the import and export of goods.
Simultaneously, the EU remains committed to pursuing constructive dialogue with Indonesia to address the issue of nickel ore exports. It is actively encouraging Indonesia to participate in the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arrangement (MPIA), which aims to facilitate a cooperative resolution.
The European Union’s concerns regarding Indonesia’s halt on nickel ore exports revolve around the significant price surge in the nickel market, which has impacted not only the EU but also other nations heavily reliant on nickel resources.
This dispute between the EU and Indonesia traces back to 2019 when the EU initiated consultations through the WTO. Failing to reach a mutual agreement, the EU subsequently filed a formal dispute in 2021. Ultimately, the panel of the WTO ruled against Indonesia, highlighting its non-compliance with WTO regulations.
In response to the unfavorable verdict, Indonesia lodged an appeal in December 2022, continuing the legal battle and signaling its determination to challenge the previous ruling