JAKARTA (Xinhua): Some industries in Indonesia are praising controversial new Trade Ministry regulations that restrict imports of consumer goods and food items, saying they have helped to reduce smuggled goods into the country, a local newspaper reported Saturday.
"In addition to curbing the flow of imports and thus helping improve the trade balance, the new policies have bolstered Indonesian industry's fight against cheap, low-quality smuggled goods," Agus Subiantoro, the chairman of the Electronics Marketers Club (EMC), an association representing the electronics industry was quoted by the Jakartaglobe as saying.
Indonesian Trade Ministry regulations, which came into effect on Feb. 1, restrict the importation of electronic products, textiles, food and beverages, and toys to six designated ports of entry in Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Makassar, Medan and Soekarno Hatta Airport, near Jakarta.
The rules have been criticized by some consumers and retailers as a protectionist measure that harms commerce, creates shortages and causes price increases.
However, Agus acknowledged that prices of electronic goods increased 10 percent to 30 percent between November and February, due to the weakening rupiah. The precise extent of the increases, he said, depended on the type of products, and whether they were transported by sea or overland within Indonesia.
Thomas Darmawan, the chairman of the Indonesian Food and Beverages Producers Association, or Gapmi, also welcomed the regulations, saying that they are helping to curb the smuggling of food and beverage products.
"Our expectation is that the Trade Ministry regulations will help curb the flow of smuggled raw materials, such as fruits, meats and wheat flour for the food-processing industry. Last year alone, smuggling caused losses totaling around 400 million rupiah (34,000 U.S. dollars)," Darmawan said.