Tue, 24 Feb 2009
Japan Mulls Importing More Indonesian Textiles

by Dian Ariffahmi

Japan is looking to Indonesia to supply more textiles and clothes in an effort to reduce its dependence on Chinese exports, a senior Japanese official said on Monday.

“It’s common in this crisis for buyers like us to seek alternative options for supply with lower prices,” Shigeru Takagi of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in Jakarta.

Indonesia has invited a delegation of Japanese government officials and business representatives to inspect several textile factories in Bandung, West Java Province, through Wednesday, as Japan shops around Asean in an attempt to diversify its imports. China currently has a 77 percent grip on Japan’s textile and clothing market, while Indonesia has a 1.76 percent share.

Shigeru said Japan planned to reduce China’s share of the market to 50 percent.

“I have allowed them to visit and directly observe our workshops here and the work process in order to guarantee the quality of Indonesian products,” Minister of Industry Fahmi Idris said, after delivering opening remarks at a seminar on Japanese and Indonesian textile markets on Monday at the ministry.

Fahmi told the seminar that the government last year set aside Rp 300 billion ($25,200) to update textile machinery to meet Japan’s high import standards. An additional Rp 200 billion is expected to be spent this year to upgrade machinery in the textile, footwear and sugar industries.

Shigeru said Japan was not planning to cut quality by seeking lower-cost imports. Rather, it sought to meet particularly high demand for textiles in Japan.

Japan pays no import or excise taxes on textiles and clothes imported from Indonesia under the Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries, which was signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Aug. 27.



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