"Indonesia's import licensing requirements and quotas adversely affect a wide range of American agricultural exports and severely reduce Indonesian consumers' access to high-quality American products," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement announcing the action.
The request for a dispute settlement panel is the next step in a case the United States first raised in January. It comes after direct talks between the two countries in February failed to resolve the trade spat.
The United States says regulations approved by Indonesia over the past two years unfairly restrict imports of fruits, vegetables, flowers, juices and other horticultural products in violation of global trade rules.
Washington is also challenging longstanding import quotas for beef and other animal products that it says Indonesia drastically cut in December.
WTO disputes can take a year or more to resolve, assuming panels are speedily formed to hear the case.
The case focuses attention on Indonesia's trade policies as it is prepares to host two major trade gatherings this year: the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders summit in October and the ninth ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in December. (Reuters)