EU Threatens Indonesia About Retaliating Against Biodiesel Duties

JAKARTA: European Union representatives to Indonesia on Thursday challenged a plan to impose duties on European dairy goods in retaliation for the bloc’s duties on palm biodiesel, warning such action would violate World Trade Organization rules.

Indonesia’s Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Aug 9 he was recommending to an inter-ministerial team a 20%-25% tariff on EU dairy products as the appropriate response to the EU’s plan to impose 8% to 18% countervailing duty on biodiesel from Indonesia.

The EU biodiesel market is worth an estimated €9 billion euros (US$10 billion) a year, with imports from Indonesia worth about €400 million, the European Commission said last month.

Indonesia’s total dairy and egg imports in 2018 were worth US$1 billion, trade ministry data showed, with most dairy imports coming from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe.

“What the WTO does not allow, absolutely forbidden by the WTO regulation, is retaliation, which is what’s suggested in this case of dairy products,” the EU’s head of trade for Indonesia, Raffaele Quarto, told a briefing.

“In addition to that, if you see declaration of Indonesian importers that use dairy products from the EU, they pointed out it will damage the Indonesian economy to have this kind of measure,” Quarto said.

Charles-Michel Geurts, the head of the EU delegations to Indonesia, also noted problems with shipments of European spirits into Indonesia in the past six months amid suspicion this was linked to the biodiesel issue.

European spirit makers this year said they faced difficulties exporting drinks to Indonesia.

An Indonesian trade ministry official said there were delays in granting import licences for spirits from Europe but denied this was related to the dispute over palm oil.

“We are both members of WTO, we have rules of the game between partners,” said Geurts.

Indonesia’s director general of foreign trade at the trade ministry and the ministry’s spokesman declined to comment on Thursday.

The EU countervailing duties are another blow for Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, after the bloc said that palm oil should not be included as a renewable transport fuel due to deforestation to make way for plantations.

Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s second biggest palm oil producer, have repeatedly said the European measures against the edible oil industry are discriminatory.


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EU warns Indonesia about retaliating against biodiesel duties

Plastic Bottles to Pay for Bus Ticket in Indonesia

Jakarta: Dozens of people clutching bags full of plastic bottles and disposable cups queue at a busy bus terminal in the Indonesian city of Surabaya – where passengers can swap trash for travel tickets.

The nation is the world’s second-biggest marine polluter behind China and has pledged to reduce plastic waste in its waters some 70% by 2025 by boosting recycling, raising public awareness and curbing usage.

The Surabaya scheme has been a hit in the city of 2.9 million, with nearly 16, 000 passengers trading trash for free travel each week, according to authorities.

“This is a very smart solution. It’s free and instead of throwing away bottles people now collect them and bring them here, ” explains 48-year-old resident Fransiska Nugrahepi.

But they must be cleaned and cannot be squashed.

There is a steady stream of people squeezing past sacks full of recyclables to deposit plastic in four bins behind the small office and claim their tickets.

Franki Yuanus, a Surabaya transport official, says the programme aims not only to cut waste but also to tackle traffic congestion by encouraging people to switch to public transit.

“There has been a good response from the public, ” insists Yuanus.

“Paying with plastic is one of the things that has made people enthusiastic because up until now plastic waste was just seen as useless, ” he added.

Currently the fleet consists of 20 near-new buses, each with recycling bins and ticket officers who roam the aisles to collect any leftover bottles.

Authorities said roughly six tonnes of plastic rubbish are collected from passengers each month before being auctioned to recycling companies.

Nurhayati Anwar, who uses the bus about once a week with her three-year-old son, said the trash swap programme is changing how people see their throwaway cups and bottles.

“Now people in the office or at home are trying to collect (rubbish) instead of just throwing it away, ” the 44-year-old accountant said after trading in several bottles for a free ride.

“We now know that plastic is not good for the environment – people in Surabaya are starting to learn.”

Other parts of Indonesia, an archipelago of some 17, 000 islands, are also trying to tackle the issue.

Bali is phasing in a ban on single-use plastic straws and bags to rid the popular holiday island of waste choking its waterways, while authorities in the capital Jakarta are considering a similar bylaw to rid the city of plastic shopping bags. — AFP


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Trash for tickets on Indonesia’s ‘plastic bus’