Thu, 04 May 2000

Semarang port bans imported sugar

SEMARANG: The Tanjung Emas port is closed to imported sugar and raw sugar, Central Java Governor Mardiyanto said here on Wednesday.

Mardiyanto told reporters that a letter banning the entrance of imported sugar and raw sugar had been issued, the copies of which had been sent to the minister of industry and trade and the minister of finance.

"We urge the government not issue permits to importers intending to ship sugar and raw sugar from abroad," Mardiyanto said.

He said the ban would create a market balance between local and imported sugar. "The province now has more than 254,683,000 tons of sugar in stock while the monthly need is only 29,000 tons. Therefore the province needs no more sugar within nine months."

The governor said he also asked the government to increase the 25 percent in import duty for sugar to 80 percent.

"The increase in import duty is expected to enhance the sugarcane farmers and sugar factories to improve their production," he said.

Chairman of the provincial chambers of commerce and industry Soendoro welcomed the governor's decision with skepticism. "We are not sure if the policy can be well implemented." (har/sur)