Indonesia has filed a lawsuit against the ban implemented by U.S. administration that bans the trade of clove cigarette in the U.S. territory, an Indonesian senior official said in Jakarta on Monday.

Gusmardi Bustami, international trade director general of the Trade Ministry, said that the lawsuit was filed to Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) last week, an agency under the control of the World Trade Organization (WTO), particularly tasked to settle trade dispute. The move was opted following the failures to obtain compromises in the consultation forums initially attended by delegations of the two feuding parties, Gusmardi said.

The other reason to file the lawsuit was that the U.S. agency did not respond to Indonesia's request to prove scientifically over the agency's statement that the cigarette with aroma and odor is more dangerous than the ones without them, he said.

“As of June 5, the deadline to our request was over, it did not send the explanation. It makes us go ahead to use our rights in the WTO,” Gusmardi was quoted by the as saying. “We submitted the proof and facts that such a ban is not fit to the obligations regulated in international trade. A discrimination has already occurred here,” Gusmardi said, adding that the discussion panel on this dispute is expectedly to conclude within three years.

Under an excuse that cigarette with odour and aroma has more hazardous content compared to the non-aroma ones, Tobacco Control Act, the U.S. code that regulates the tobacco and cigarette trade in the United States, has banned stores in the country from selling clove cigarettes.

Clove cigarette is cigarette produced particularly by Indonesian producers. Since it is seasoned with clove, the cigarette produces smoke with typical odor. It makes it different to the ones produced outside Indonesia. The U.S. agency's policy to ban trade of clove cigarette in that country would cost Indonesia significantly as 99 per cent of cigarettes supplied to the United States come from Indonesia. The ban may generate potential loss to Indonesian producers some 18.4 trillion rupiah (about $200 million). — Xinhua

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