(Bloomberg) -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo vowed to challenge any World Trade Organization’s ruling against the country’s ban on nickel ore exports and to push ahead with his mineral downstreaming policy.

“We don’t want to continue exporting raw materials even if we lost at the WTO, it is alright,” the president known as Jokowi said in a speech in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The president’s remarks came after the WTO concluded that the export ban on nickel ore -- a key metal in the production of stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries -- violated international trade rules. Indonesia is the world’s largest nickel producer and the sixth largest for bauxite. 

WTO Says Indonesia’s Ban on Nickel Exports Violated Rules: Tempo

“If we step back and stop downstreaming, we will never become a developed country,” said Jokowi, adding that he may extend the ban to bauxite as the government focuses on downstreaming the commodity. “We will not stop.”

The dispute started in 2021 when the European Union asked for the establishment of a panel to determine whether Indonesia’s requirement for some minerals to be processed locally and its failure to promptly publish the policy are inconsistent with WTO rules.

--With assistance from Grace Sihombing.

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