Brazilian authorities submitted a formal request to open a panel against Indonesia in order to address barriers imposed by this Asian nation on exports of poultry meat from Brazil. The request will be reviewed under the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Brazil has made dozens of attempts at negotiations for the opening of the Indonesian market. Since 2008, there has been at least six missions by the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) seeking an initial approach to dialogue with importers and local government authorities.

"There were many attempts through documents and other actions by the Brazilian government. Local companies showed a strong interest in pursuing business with Brazilian exporters. The interest has been expressed at Asian and European trade fairs we have participated in, and even by email; potential importers seeking to know about the possibility of imports. Brazil has the potential to establish itself as a partner in helping in the food security of the Indonesian population. Unfortunately, we cannot progress and the country's authorities insist on maintaining these unjustified barriers," said the CEO of the ABPA, Francisco Turra.

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With over 250 million inhabitants and low consumption per capita, Indonesia has a Muslim majority (87 percent), consumers of halal products and who follow food guidelines established by Islam. In addition, today Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of halal chicken meat in the world with nearly 1.8 million MT exported a year — almost half of the nearly 4 million MT of chicken meat that it exports.

In late December, after consultations conducted in the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Brazilian representatives decided to move forward with the installation of the panel against Indonesia. During that occasion, representatives of the Ministries of Commerce and Agriculture of Indonesia were questioned by Brazilian authorities regarding the barriers. The responses to the questions by the Indonesian representatives were considered inconsistent by Brazil.