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DW.com – Consultation at the WTO: Europe and Indonesia Failed to Reach Common Ground on the Export Ban on Nickel Ore

On Feb. 13, Deutsche Welle journalist Ayu Purwaningsih reported on a consultation meeting between the European Union and Indonesia at the WTO. The issue was the export ban on nickel ore by the Indonesian government. However, no agreement could be reached between the EU and Indonesia at this meeting. The CEO of the Gerber Group, Thorsten Gerber, was also asked for his opinion on this matter.

No agreement on nickel export ban: EU and Indonesia talks fail
No agreement on nickel export ban: EU and Indonesia talks fail

In mid-January, we had already published an internationally acclaimed article on the subject: “EU files WTO request against Indonesian export restrictions on stainless steel raw materials“.

The complete DW Indonesia article by Ayu Purwaningsih can be found here in Indonesian.

Indonesia and EU dispute over access to nickel

The background to the trade dispute between the European Union and Indonesia is the Indonesian government’s ban on nickel ore exports, which has been in place since Jan. 1, 2020.

According to the report, Indonesia’s ambassador to Germany, Arif Havas Oegroseno, believes Indonesia’s argument for imposing the ban should be acceptable to the complaining parties, as EU raw material purchases have been relatively low in recent years.

European steelmakers feel unfairly treated

In the article, European steel lobby Eurofer accuses the Indonesian government of wanting to build an export-oriented stainless steel sector and using unfair practices to do so.

Indonesia available for further negotiations

Overall, Indonesia states that it cannot agree to the EU’s demand. But of course is available for further negotiations with the European Union.

Thorsten Gerber: “Jakarta is only protecting its strategic nickel reserves.”

Our CEO Thorsten Gerber also has his say in this comprehensive article.

CEO and founder of steel distribution company Gerber Group, knows that Jakarta wants to protect its strategic raw materials by introducing this nickel export ban.

“Stainless steel is a strategic raw material. Industries around the world are built on this raw material. However, the European Union only protects its own steel producers and forgets about the downstream industry,” Gerber said. “There is currently almost no stainless steel to be had. Apart from the corona pandemic, this will be a severe blow to the European industry. Because then there will be no more stainless steel.”

Indonesia invites European Union to invest in Indonesia

However, the article also clearly demonstrates that the European Union should invest in Indonesia. So that it, like China, for example, can purchase Indonesian nickel in the future. In the country, the conditions for further value creation in products must be created.

Comment: Trade barriers must be eased

For the Gerber Group, a fair market also includes, for example, a relaxation of the EU trade barriers for stainless steel. European companies cannot be expected to invest in Indonesia if, at the same time, the EU market is closed off to imports from abroad. With such conditions, why should Jakarta be interested in relaxing the export ban?

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