STC Number - 414

Indonesia's food safety measures affecting horticultural products and animal products

Maintained by: Indonesia
Raised by: Philippines
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2016 G/SPS/R/84, paras. 3.7-3.8
Dates subsequently raised: March 2019 (G/SPS/R/94, paras. 3.107-3.109)
July 2019 (G/SPS/R/95, paras. 4.90-4.91)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/IDN/94
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal; 04 Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included; 05 Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included; 07 Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers; 08 Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Human health; Risk assessment
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2016, the Philippines expressed its concern regarding Indonesia's food safety measures affecting horticultural products and animal products, and in particular with Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) Regulations No.88/2011, No. 42/2012 and No. 04/2015. The Philippines regretted that no progress had been made through all bilateral avenues tried so far. The Philippines considered the regulations to be in violation among others of Articles 2.2, 4, 5.4 and 5.6 of the SPS Agreement as well as the national treatment principle under Article III of GATT 1994. The measures had no scientific justification and were more trade restrictive than necessary to achieve Indonesia's appropriate level of protection (ALOP). Exports of horticultural exports had been growing until 2011, when the measures were first imposed, without posing any serious health or safety risks. Furthermore, Indonesia's closure of its main entry port in Jakarta in 2012 heavily impacted on Philippine exports of bananas and shallots. Indonesia had unduly delayed the processing of the Philippines' applications for recognition of its food safety control system for horticultural products, laboratory accreditation and accreditation for animal products, despite follow-up in writing and bilateral discussions on numerous occasions. Indonesia's latest measures under MOA Regulation No. 04/2015 further overshadowed efforts to recognise the Philippines' food safety control system. The Philippines recognized that some measures, currently being reviewed by dispute settlement panels, might not be covered by the SPS Agreement, but noted that the combined effect of both SPS and non-SPS measures made Indonesia's system more potently trade restrictive. The Philippines expressed its appreciation for Indonesia's availability on the margins of the current Committee meeting and remained committed to continue bilateral discussions to resolve this issue.

Indonesia indicated that some regulations at issue were no longer in force. A revision of MoA Regulation No. 88/2011 had been notified (G/SPS/N/IDN/94) and implemented in February 2016. The regulation set out food safety control systems recognition and laboratory registration requirements to export fresh foods of plant origin to Indonesia. Since 2012, the Philippines had submitted applications for food safety recognition systems for bananas, shallots and pineapples and had applied for registration of its food safety testing laboratory in June 2016. However, Indonesia was still waiting for additional data necessary for conducting the risk assessment. The requirements applied to all WTO Members and, so far, 26 countries had been granted access to the Indonesian market. Indonesia thanked the Philippines for the explanations received during their bilateral talks in the margins of the Committee, and expressed its willingness to continue bilateral discussions towards finding a solution.

In March 2019, the Philippines reiterated its concern on Indonesia's SPS-related requirements on horticultural products, which had led to the disruption of Philippine exports since 2013 and regretted the lack of progress on this issue, which had been previously raised in 2016. The Philippines updated the Committee on the Minister of Agriculture Decree No. 2315 issued by Indonesia in late 2018, which only recognized a limited number of testing laboratories for horticultural products. Further import requirements had followed, including MRLs for bananas and shallots, and a new requirement that fresh bananas had to be sourced from a recognized pest-free area in the Philippines. Although Indonesia had identified and recognized pest-free production areas and accredited laboratories in the Philippines, there was a lack of clarity on the resumption of imports of bananas, pineapples and shallots. While appreciating progress made, the Philippines remained concerned about Indonesia's measures and referred to undue delays in their applications, unpredictable timeframes and other requirements which had led to the disruption of Philippine exports to Indonesia without scientific justification, with a decline of almost 70% since 2013, reaching zero exports in 2016.

Regarding Indonesia's approval measures for imported meat and meat products, the Philippines were also concerned with its undue delays, lack of transparency, and piecemeal and unpredictable approach in its handling of market access requests. The Philippines appreciated Indonesia's decision to begin processing their request for a processed meat product but regretted the prescription of standards higher than the OIE without a scientific risk assessment.

Indonesia responded that the Ministerial Decree concerning pest free area for bananas and shallots was still under internal procedures; this was Ministerial Decree No. 2315 of 2018, concerning the registration of food safety laboratories for fresh food of plant origin. Regarding animal products, Indonesia required the importation of meat and meat products be based on the 2016 Ministerial Decree concerning the importation of carcass, meat, edible offal and its products, including that the origin country should be free from FMD, Rift Valley Fever, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and BSE.

In July 2019, the Philippines expressed its appreciation for the communication it had received from Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture regarding the revised Decree on the Registration of Philippine Laboratories, with a revised list of active substances for MRL testing for horticultural products. The Philippines appreciated the recent development on this long-running trade concern. However, the Philippines regretted Indonesia's unclear requirement regarding prior notice and a certificate of laboratory analysis as accompanying documents on a per-consignment basis. The "per consignment MRL and heavy metals certification" would be burdensome and costly; lacked a scientific justification and was not based on international protocols and benchmarks. In addition, Indonesian horticultural products were not subject to the same requirements. The Philippines added that in 2016 Indonesia had closed its ports to horticultural products from the Philippines during their system equivalence determination and later the ongoing laboratory registration, despite having had prior trade. Exports from the Philippines to Indonesia had declined by almost 70 percent since 2013 and reached bottom-zero since 2016. Regarding Indonesia's approval measures for the import of meat and meat products, the Philippines remained deeply concerned with the undue delays, lack of transparency, unpredictable approach, and discriminatory requirements without scientific justification. Indonesia had required the Philippines to be of negligible risk status for BSE, even though both the Philippines and Indonesia had the same undetermined OIE status for BSE. The Philippines urged Indonesia to consider and accept their proposed import measures for horticultural products and to align its approval measures for the import of meat and meat products to its WTO obligations.

Indonesia expressed appreciation to the Philippines for their bilateral engagement and ongoing work. Regarding the procedure for the registration of accredited laboratories, Indonesia had adopted Ministry of Agriculture Regulation No. 1329 of 2019 on 31 May 2019, which amended prior scope and parameters of laboratory testing for pesticide residues and heavy metal contents in shallots, pineapple, and bananas from the Philippines. Indonesia further reiterated that it was in the process of harmonizing its regulations to provide a detailed timeline of its auditing process.