World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States on Friday demanded that Argentina "immediately" end an import licensing regime and other curbs that have frustrated foreign suppliers, and expressed concerns about a "sweeping new import restriction" Indonesia has imposed.
The comments came in remarks by a U.S. official at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
Rachel Bae, a U.S. attache, took a notably harder line with Argentina, which is already the target of a WTO suit filed by the European Union over steps the South American nation has taken to discourage imports.
Those include an import licensing regime and an obligation on companies to balance imports with exports.
"Our hope is that Argentina will acknowledge our concerns and terminate these import-restrictive measures and practices immediately," she said, according to a text of her remarks made available in Washington.
"In short, our question for Argentina, again today, is: When will the government put an end to the non-transparent and restrictive measures and practices that have been the source of such longstanding irritation and growing frustration to so many of Argentina's fellow WTO Members?"
Argentina maintains its measures are consistent with WTO rules and complained on Friday that other members are unfairly singling it out by continually bringing them up, a trade diplomat said.
Nineteen WTO members objected to Argentina's policies at the March 30 meeting of the WTO Trade and Goods Council, and the United States, the EU, Japan, Turkey, Switzerland, Australia, Colombia, New Zealand, Israel, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong reinforced those concerns on Friday, the diplomat said.
Bae began her remarks on Indonesia by stressing it "is an important partner of the United States."
But the Southeast Asian nation has introduced a large number of new trade and investment restrictions "that threaten to make Indonesia's market impenetrable," Bae said.
Those include "a sweeping new import restriction" known as Regulation 27 that the United States understands is intended to implement "an Indonesia Supreme Court finding that imports 'clash' with domestic products and interfere with national development objectives," she said.
Bae noted "the substance of the Supreme Court's decision raises thought-provoking questions about the openness of Indonesia's economy and its ability to fulfill its WTO commitments."
She also expressed concern about import licensing requirements that Indonesia has imposed on a long list of products, including many of interest to the United States, such as livestock products, textiles and clothing and consumers goods like electronics, appliances and food and beverages.
Indonesia defended the policies as necessary to address the needs of millions of poor people in the country, but said it was reviewing some of the regulations, the trade diplomat said.
The EU, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand and Australia joined the United States in expressing concern.
In another presentation at the WTO, Argentina and Indonesia teamed up to criticize a law passed by Spain last month that bans the use of biodiesel produced outside the EU.
Argentina is the world's biggest exporter of biodiesel, made mainly from its plentiful soyoil supplies. Indonesia is the No. 1 producer of palm oil, another raw material for biodiesel.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina's Foreign Ministry called the Spanish legislation "unilateral (and) protectionist," and said the joint declaration had received support from Uruguay, Brazil and Cuba.
Given all the uncertainty, investors were pricing in a chance of a rate cut with some analysts expecting the Bank of England to consider quantitative easing to cushion the economy
The Egyptian stock index was down 5.8 percent in early afternoon.
The pound sterling sees its lowest level against the the US dollar in over 30 years
A subsequent survey that included people of all ages found that somewhat older Americans also are skeptical of capitalism.
California is now the sixth largest economy in the world, surpassing France thanks to a robust state economy and the strength of the US dollar.
Overnight lending rate gets cut by 50 points to 9 percent, while overnight borrowing rate remains unchanged at 7.25 percent
Says 2016 business report 'clear indicator' it is improving its economic record despite fall from 46th to 49th
Turkish Cypriot leader says negotiations on federal system close to completion
Britain votes on June 23 on whether to stay in the 28-member bloc, a choice with far-reaching consequences for politics, the economy, defence and diplomacy on the continent.
1 in 18 families has a member who left Greece after 2010, and 12 pct of new refugees are older than 40
Surplus during Jan.-May period stood at $3.1 billion, says finance minister
Remote, impoverished town expects well-to-do Chinese buyer to spur its fragile economy
Austrian company is to have 75 percent of total stakes of Turkish company after agreement concluded
Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Cisco and Oracle hold about $504B, approximately one-third of all corporate cash in the United States
The Fund's head says 'corruption has a pernicious effect on the economy'