Wed, 31 Mar 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Directorate General of Customs and Excise have found numerous violations using fictitious Certificates of Origin following the free trade agreement. As of early this year, at least 53 cases with false certificates of origin have been found in Tanjung Perak harbour, Surabaya and Belawan harbour, Medan.

Customs and Excise director-general, Thomas Sugijata, said that the findings consisted of 32 cases in Tanjung Perak and 21 cases in Belawan. They were exposed following checks carried early this year on goods unloaded in the two harbors.

The modus is allegedly to claim imported goods originating from countries which have not established a free trade agreement to come from those which have signed the pact. The aim is not having to pay tariffs.

According to Thomas, it is possible that similar cases occurred in other major harbors. “We have instructed that an investigation be carried as of early this year, especially on goods getting zero percent tariffs,” he said at a press conference in the headquarters of the Directorat General of Custom and Excise yesterday.

He was not able to provide information on the origin of the goods using the fake certificates, but he revealed that most of them used Chinese certificates of origin.

Indonesia has signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN countries as well as with China, Korea and Japan. “The tariff facilities will not be given to those who are not eligible. We will not allow this happen,” he said.

The Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Muhaimin Iskandar, said that until now, there has been no significant impact following the launching of the free trade agreement.

“The Manpower Office chief has been instructed to keep on monitoring developments as a result of the China-ASEAN free trade agreement,” said Muhaimin in Bandung yesterday.

The Minister of Trade Mari Elka Pangestu said that Indonesia does not plant to sign a new free trade agreement in the near future. “More time is neededfor socialization,” said Mari in a separate occasion last week.

Mari explained that the socialization process carried out is about the positive side of free trade agreement. “We must also provide information about concerns (on the negative impacts), “she said.

Indonesia is still exploring the possibility of having a free trade agreement with Australia, New Zealand and Europe, which are grouped under the Europe Free Trade Association. Specifically on free trade between Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, the government has just completed a feasibility study.

Even though there has been no agreement yet, according to Mari, the process leading to free trade with the three countries is being prepared. “At this stage, we have involved the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” said Mari.