[WTO Case Review Series No.25] Indonesia—Measures Concerning the Importation of Chicken Meat and Chicken Products (WT/DS484): Interface between Halal Requirement and Free Trade

Author Name SEKINE Takemasa (Nagoya University of Commerce and Business)
Creation Date/NO. June 2019 19-P-011
Research Project Comprehensive Research on the Current International Trade/Investment System (pt. IV)
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In the realm of trade disputes, Indonesia's presence is gradually increasing. The case at hand is one instance in which a consultation has been requested regarding Indonesia under the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement procedure. This case is significant in that it deals with the issues regarding the amendment of legal instruments that constitute the measure in question during the procedure (the so-called "moving target" issue); the legal assessment of trade restrictions based on the halal requirements (the "trade and religion" issue); and the interpretation of Articles III:4 and XX of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) as well as Article 8 of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). Among these, the treatment of halal requirements appears to be the most defining issue in this case. Restricting imports of non-halal products is not necessarily based on scientific evidence and the standards for such restrictions differ between countries. Under such circumstances, distinguishing between a genuinely religious measure and a disguised restriction is a difficult task. While the thorough examination on the details of halal requirements did not unfold in this case, it may serve as an important trigger to think concretely about the relationship between halal requirements and free trade.