Fri, 11 Apr 2003

Customs cancel import clearance privileges of eight companies

Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Directorate General of Customs and Excise has revoked the "priority lane" import clearance facility of eight companies because they failed to meet the new requirements set by the customs office.

The head of the trade facilitation projects for customs reform, Muhammad Zein, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that the eight companies would no longer be extended the privilege of clearing their imported goods faster and cheaper through Tanjung Priok Port.

"As of April, the directorate has revoked the clearance privileges of eight companies for failing to meet the requirements," he said.

The eight companies are PT Daimler Chrysler Indonesia, PT LG Electronics Indonesia, PT Astra Nisan Diesel Indonesia, PT National Gobel, PT Komatsu Indonesia, PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper, PT Monokem Surya and PT Nikomas Gemilang.

In October last year, the customs office granted the facility to 32 companies for a trial period lasting to the end of March. At the time the government said it would review the facility during the trial period to make sure no smuggling or undervaluation practices occurred under the policy.

With the priority lane facility the companies could clear their goods without undergoing the usual document examination and physical checks by customs officials.

Customs officials still check the goods, but the process does not hamper the flow of the companies' goods out of the port.

When the trial period ended, the 32 companies were encouraged to reapply for the facility, but with new requirements.

Among the new requirements is a complete absence of customs violations over the past year, and no record of misusing the facility during the trial period.

A company should also have no tax or duty arrears and no disclaimer on its audited financial reports.

Zein explained that five of the eight firms could not be granted the facility because they were suspected of importing "medium-risk" goods that could threaten the survivability of local companies. He declined to name the five companies.

The priority lane is one of the programs recently announced by the customs office in response to calls from the public and the International Monetary Fund for the office to improve its services.

However, experts and businesspeople say that no matter how good the program is, the country's customs service will not improve until its officials change their corrupt mentality.

Companies extended priority lane facility: PT Pantja Motor, PT Astra Daihatsu Motor, PT Sharp Yasonta Ina, PT Yamaha Indonesia Motor, PT Hilex Indonesia, PT Hilex Parts Indonesia, PT Sanyo Industries Ina, PT Hyundai Indonesia Motor, PT Tri Dharma Wisesa, PT Toyota Astra Motor, PT Aisin Indonesia, PT Arnott's Indonesia, PT Asahimas Mas Flat Grass, PT Denso Corporation Ina, PT Federal Superior Chain, PT Filamendo Sakti, PT General Motor, PT Kayaba Indonesia, PT Topjaya Antariksa, PT Pelangi Indah Canindo, PT Astra Honda Motor, PT Samsung Electronic Ina, PT PT Dumaco Chemicals, PT Indomobil Suzuki Int.