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Indonesia to Appeal European Union’s Nickel Export Victory

Indonesia has announced its intention to appeal the World Trade Organization's (WTO) ruling, which favored the European Union (EU) in a dispute over the ban on nickel ore exports. President Joko Widodo, speaking at an investment event, expressed determination to continue the campaign of processing more raw materials domestically and instructed his government to appeal the decision.

President Jokowi, acknowledged the WTO's ruling on the nickel issue but stated, "Even though we lost at the WTO on this nickel issue.... I have told the minister to appeal."

The EU initiated the challenge at the WTO in November 2019, arguing that Indonesia's export restrictions on raw materials unfairly impacted its stainless steel industry.

According to the WTO panel's ruling, both the prohibition on nickel exports and the requirement for domestic processing, which mandated all nickel ore to be refined within Indonesia, were found to be inconsistent with global trade rules. The measures failed to meet the exemption criteria as they were not implemented temporarily to address a critical shortage of an essential product.

The panel ruling concluded by recommending that Indonesia align its measures with its international obligations. In response, President Jokowi urged Indonesians to halt the export of raw materials and encouraged the pursuit of investments to enhance value addition within the country.

Indonesia, once the largest global exporter of nickel, chose to ban ore exports to attract foreign investments for the development of onshore nickel smelters and downstream industries. China has been a significant source of investment in this endeavor.

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