Japan plans to bring a settlement with Indonesia to the World Trade Organization on the matter of mineral ore export restrictions. Japan believes that Indonesia’s new ban on ore exports are in violation of agreements made by WTO.
The Indonesian government has recently passed a law banning the export of minerals such as raw nickel, copper and other mineral ores. Under the new law, the ores mentioned must be processed domestically. This has caused a disruption in the supply of the said minerals in Japan, which are highly essential in some of the nation’s industries. 40% of Japan’s nickel ores are from Indonesia and while the smelters can continue using their stockpiles, the supply will not be enough for the need and companies who produce stainless steel will suffer.
Indonesia plans to develop the domestic industry of refining the ores in their country by imposing the ban. They hope that the industry will not just remain on mining but eventually include processing as well. While saying that no clear decision has been made on elevating the matter to WTO, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is seriously mulling the act. The two nations will have consultations with each other and the WTO later this month to try to settle the issue. Should everything fail, Japan is expected to push for the creation of a panel that will examine the case.
[via Nikkei Asian Review]