Thu, 25 May 2000

Illegal foreign footwear products concern Aprisindo

JAKARTA (JP): Footwear industry executives are warning of mass layoffs if the government fails to curb the influx of illegal footwear from abroad.

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 workers in the footwear industry could soon be laid off every month if restrictions are not tightened.

Anthon Tardia, chairman of the Indonesian Footwear Association (Aprisindo) forecasts one dismissal per footwear firm each time the company decreases daily production by three pairs of shoes or five pairs of sandals.

He claimed that dozens of labor-intensive footwear industries in Greater Jakarta and East Java have reduced production levels following large inflows of low-priced footwear in major cities like Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan, North Sumatra, over the last three months.

"Many footwear companies in Greater Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya have laid off employees after deciding to decrease their production due to the spread of illegal sandals and shoes in local markets," he said on Wednesday.

He claimed that between February and April a total of 800,000 pairs of sandals and shoes, entering illegally from countries like China, were traded freely in Surabaya, Medan and Jakarta.

The association has several times filed complaints to the Directorate General of Tax and Excise but no hard measures have been taken to curb the smuggling.

It has effected not only the local footwear industry but also worsened the unemployment problem and caused material losses to the government, he added. (rms)