A worker is seen at a nickel smelter of state-run mining company Antam in Kolaka, Southeast Sulawesi, on August 16, 2019. (Antara photo)

Indonesia to Appeal WTO Ruling on Nickel Export


NOVEMBER 30, 2022

Jakarta. Indonesia will appeal a World Trade Organization ruling favoring the European Union, which lodged a complaint against the country's decision to halt the export of nickel ores, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Wednesday.

After nickel, the government will also ban the export of other raw materials such as bauxite and tin to attract foreign investment in downstream industries in Indonesia.

Speaking at an investment forum in Jakarta, the president said Indonesia had lost the nickel dispute at the WTO but it won't deter the government from halting the exports of raw commodities in favor of domestic downstream industries and processed commodities with a much higher value.

"Although we have lost the nickel dispute at the WTO after a complaint from the European Union, it's okay. I told my ministers next in the second round we will work on downstream industries of bauxite," Jokowi said.


"That means raw bauxites must be processed domestically to give added value," he said.

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The president claimed that his government's policies to restrict or ban the exports of raw materials proved beneficial to the national economy.

The export of raw nickel generated revenues of just $1 billion five years ago, in comparison to the $20.8 billion the country earned from processed nickel export in 2021, Jokowi said.

"We got 18 times the added value," he said.

In addition, the country has enjoyed a surplus in international trade for 29 months in a row, a run that has never been achieved before, Jokowi said.

But the EU is not happy with Indonesia's industrialization push because they have many processing factories at risk of closure without raw material supplies from Indonesia. 

"If processing works take place here, the unemployment rate will increase there [the EU}, and many factories and industries will be closed down," Jokowi said.

"But we want to become a developed nation, we want to create jobs too. We won't be able to achieve that if a [WTO] complaint frightens us. So I told my ministers let's go on, don't stop at nickel," he said.