[WTO Case Review Series No.28] Indonesia – Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Products (DS477/478): Limiting effect on importation and justifications regarding integral import measures, relationship between Agriculture Agreement Article 4.2 and GATT Article 11

Author Name SHIMIZU Mari (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
Creation Date/NO. December 2019 19-P-034
Research Project Comprehensive Research on the Current International Trade/Investment System (pt. IV)
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This paper analyzes a WTO DS case that discussed integral aspects of import restrictions by Indonesia as an emerging economy – a representative example of its protectionist measures. In this case, first, (1) regarding "import restriction" under GATT Article 11.1, the Panel found a broad range of various measures to have limiting effects on importation, and thus to be inconsistent with GATT Article 11.1, by finding, among others, a certain individual measure lacking implementation provisions to have uncertainty and unpredictability, and an integral and comprehensive import license measure consisting of various individual measures to be an independent measure with synergistic effect (not appealed). While the referenced legal standard was not new, the finding may have restraining effects on protectionist import measures. Also, (2) as for justifications, the Panel clearly rejected Indonesia's claims that certain measures do not fall under subparagraphs (a), (b), or (d) of GATT Article 20 which were not detailed enough, as the measures do not even have such connections with the alleged policy objectives that they are "not incapable" of contributing to such objectives (not appealed). Lastly, (3) with regard to relationship between GATT Article 11 and Agriculture Agreement Article 4.2, the Appellate Body clarified that these provisions provide the same obligation regarding the prohibition of import restriction measure on agricultural products and that GATT Article 11.2(c) cannot be claimed as exceptions/justifications for the inconsistency with Agriculture Agreement Article 4.2.