Sun, 14 Nov 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Food and beverage businessmen have suggested that the port of Dumai no longer be used as the entry point for food and beverage imports. “Based on information from the excise office, very little food and beverage imports come through Dumai,” said Franky Sibarani, the Indonesian Food and Beverage Businessmen Association Secretary General, yesterday.

According to Franky, if there are imported food and beverage retailed in Dumai, they are suspected to have entered through small ports around Dumai. “There are many traditional ports across the Sumatra coast,” he said.

“So far, Dumai port has only been used to stamp documents,” Franky added. In this way, imported products only appear to to enter through Dumai.

In 2008, the government applied the Trade Minister Regulation No. 56 on Import Policy for Specific Products. One of the points was the license for five specific products, namely food and beverage, electronic products, footwear, clothes, and children’s toys, to enter through a certain port. The law was intended to prevent illegal imports from entering.

These products should only be imported through certain ports, namely Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak, Tanjung Emas, Soekarno-Hatta, and Belawan. Recently, the government has also opened Dumai and Jayapura ports to allow entry of food and beverage imports.

During January to September of this year, the value of food and beverage imports totaled US$ 153 million. The value is bigger than the same period last year which was only US$ 120 million. The majority of food and beverage products pass through Tanjung Priok port.

Deddy Saleh, the Trade Minister’s Foreign Trade director general ad interim, said the extension of the regulation is being discussed as it will expire this year. The reason is because businessmen still need the regulation to reduce the flood of illegal imports.

Besides extending its validity period, the government is tightening security over products coming in through ports.

At the end of August, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu claimed that the early warning system to detect an increase in imports was effective. Mari said if the volume of imported consumer goods skyrocketed, it may be due to an increase in demand or local production has declined. Franky felt at that time that the increase in imports showed that the regulation was effective.