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Indonesia plans to appeal after losing WTO nickel dispute with EU

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JAKARTA, Nov 30 (Reuters) –

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Indonesia’s president said on Wednesday his country would appeal a trade dispute ruling that he stated had gone in favor of the European Union, which had sued Indonesia over its 2020 ban on exports of nickel ore.

Speaking at an investment event, President Joko Widodo vowed the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) ruling would not deter a drive to process more raw materials at home and that he had ordered his government to appeal it.

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“Even though we lost at the WTO on this nickel issue…it’s okay. I have told the minister to appeal,” said the president, who is widely known as Jokowi.

The EU launched its WTO complaint after saying the restrictions unfairly limited its stainless steel producers’ access to nickel in particular, and other commodities.

The WTO has not yet made public its ruling. It formed a panel overseeing the dispute between the EU and Indonesia in April, 2021 and its final report was due to be issued in the last quarter of 2022, according to the Geneva-based body’s website.

Jokowi called on Indonesians to stop exporting raw materials and said exports of other unprocessed minerals such as bauxite would also be stopped.

“Look for investors, so that investments come in there, so that there is added value just like in nickel,” he said.

Indonesia was the world’s biggest exporter of nickel before it banned ore exports in favor of attracting foreign investors to develop nickel smelters and downstream industries onshore, with China being a significant source of investment.

“We want to be a developed country, we want to create jobs. If we are scared of being sued, and we step back, we will not be a developed country.” (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe Writing by Ed Davies Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

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