Thu, 03 Aug 2006

10 commodities selected for priority export program

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has prepared a package of policies to boost the competitive edge of the country's 10 main commodities in the international market.

Trade Minister Mari E. Pangestu said Wednesday in Jakarta that her ministry had selected 10 prime commodities that would receive government support through the program, including shrimp, coffee, crude palm oil, cocoa, rubber, footwear, electronics and auto spare parts.

"With the program, we hope by 2010 those 10 commodities will be able to compete with similar products in the world market," she said.

According to her, the 10 products were chosen because their exports showed a steady growth every year, but their share of the world market was still small.

For instance, the Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade) showed that Indonesia's share of EU imports declined to 0.39 percent in 2004 from 0.47 percent in 2001 and 0.49 percent in 1998.

Meanwhile, Indonesian exports to the EU, according to the Central Statistics Agency, reached US$9.01 billion in 2004 as compared to $8.21 billion in 2003.

"Our biggest competitor is China because it sells products at lower prices," said Marie.

The new policies will cover guidelines in the making of brands, packaging and designs for the selected commodities.

"To carry out the program, our ministry will cooperate with the ministry of industry as well as the state ministry for state enterprises, and the state ministry for small and medium enterprises," she said.

Through the program, the government would provide assistance to producers to enhance the quality of their products and in improving the designs, packaging and branding.

Marie also said that the government would, for example, invite foreign investors to get involved in the production of the commodities in the program.

Marie said that besides the 10 commodities, there were other products such as handicrafts, fish, herbal medicine, leather, processed food, jewelry, essential oils, spices, non-paper stationery and medical instrument that could be developed to compete in the world market.(05)