WASHINGTON – Groups representing the US meat industry wrote a letter in support of the US Trade Representative’s decision to seek a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel to examine Indonesia’s import restrictions on animals, animal products and horticultural products.

Indonesia has long maintained import licensing requirements and quotas for animals, beef and other animal-product imports. Indonesia announced in December 2012 drastic reductions in quotas for beef and other animal-product imports, further restricting US access to the Indonesian market. The American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Renderers Association and North American Meat Association cosigned a letter supporting US Trade Representative efforts end to Indonesia's trade barriers to US beef.

“If Indonesia has scientific evidence to show just cause for its restrictions on US beef and beef products then it should present the evidence immediately for scientific review, otherwise, it should cease immediately with these unnecessary restrictions on US beef and beef products,” the letter stated. “Allowing countries like Indonesia to place arbitrary restrictions on US beef sets a dangerous precedent if they are allowed to go unanswered. We encourage USTR to address these issues with any and all means necessary and remedy this situation as soon as possible.”

“Indonesia’s import licensing requirements and quotas adversely affect a wide range of American agricultural exports and severely reduce Indonesian consumers’ access to high-quality American products,” said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently. “We will continue to ensure that our trading partners play by the rules and fight to support each job here at home affected by unfair restrictions abroad.”