Tue, 21 Nov 2000

Agro toolmakers want Chinese imports curbed

JAKARTA (JP): Alsintani, the association of producers of agricultural implements, called on the government on Monday to curb imports from China which it blames for causing the loss of more than 30,000 jobs over the past three years.

Alsintani chairman Hasan Sulaiman proposed a 30 percent import tariff, against the 4-5 percent tariff at present, on Chinese agricultural implements among measures to curb imports.

He warned that unless the government complied with its demand, association members and their employees would be deployed to protest in Jakarta streets.

"We are only asking to cease imports of implements that are already produced locally," he said after a panel discussion on agribusiness held at Manggala Wanabakti building.

"If the government cannot control imports and they continue to flood (the Indonesian market), the only recourse left for us is to take to the streets and march to the House of Representatives.

"Our members, and their employees, can wait no longer. They are ready to protest and display our local products on a motorcade of trucks around the capital. That seems to be our last recourse," he said.

He added: "We still believe that the present Cabinet ministers will be more serious in handling this problem."

The flood of imports of cheap Chinese-made agricultural implements -- including hand-tractors, threshers, dryers, pumps, hoes and sickles -- have put many local producers out of business in recent years, according to Alsintani.

Hasan said that cheap often meant inferior, claiming that 85 percent of all imported Chinese products could not be used either because they were damaged or because of shortage of spare parts.

Founded in 1978, Alsintani consists of 30 medium to large scale enterprises (all in Java), 400 small companies and around 16,000 blacksmiths. (03)