17 October 2019 (closed)
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The government of Indonesia has been preparing strategies to face Japan's possible complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about Indonesia's recently introduced export ban of mineral ore (UU Minerba No. 4 - 2009). A special team from Indonesia's Trade Ministry, headed by Gusmardi Bustami, has been set up to handle the dispute. Japan feels forced to bring the export ban case to the WTO because its industry is highly dependent on the supply of certain raw Indonesian commodities, particularly nickel.
Earlier in April, Japan's Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida discussed this issue with Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa in Hiroshima, Japan. According to the Indonesian government, a solution in this conflict would be for Japan to relocate processing facilities to Indonesia, together with a guarantee from the Indonesian government that raw materials will be supplied to those facilities.
Despite widespread commotion, the Indonesian government will maintain the raw minerals export policy. The main targets of the ban, which was implemented on 12 January 2014, are to support the establishment of value-added processing industries in Indonesia and to slow down the pace of excessive mining exploitation in the country. The ban was announced in 2009 but miners were reluctant to build smelters as they expected that the government would not implement the policy due to its controversial nature. However, according to the Indonesian government, as the export ban is applied to both foreign and domestic companies there is no discriminatory act and therefore the government sees no legal problem in maintaining the ban.