Wed, 12 Mar 2003

Unscrupulous flour importers to be punished

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said that some 11 brands of imported wheat flour products from Australia, India, China and Malaysia sold at local markets did not meet government-set nutritional requirements.

Budi Darmadi said on Tuesday that the ministry had set up a special team to further investigate the products.

"The directorate general of domestic trade affairs will decide whether to revoke the business license (of the importer) or withdraw the products from the market after receiving a report from the team," he said.

"Some 11 brands did not meet our minimum nutritional requirements, such as vitamin B content," he said.

The ministry has recently launched an investigation into imported wheat flour products following complaints from consumers and industry associations by taking samples from traditional markets in Jakarta, Makassar, Semarang, Medan, Surabaya and Pontianak.

The ministry's move is part of efforts to protect consumers against unscrupulous traders and producers, as stipulated under Law No. 8/1999 on consumer protection.

According to Article 8 of the consumer protection law, producers and traders are banned from producing or marketing products or services that do not meet the standards set by the government.

Producers and traders also are forbidden from deceiving consumers by falsifying the quality of their products.

Ministry of Trade and Industry Rini M. Soewandi has also issued a ministerial decree on the supervision of products sold in local markets.

According to the decree, producers and traders who sell products in the local market must meet the government's regulations with regard to labeling, marketing, advertising and after-sales service.

On labels, for example, the company must print the identity of importers and producers.

Budi also said that the ministry was also investigating 12 other wheat flour products that had not received certification of approval from the National Standardization Agency.

The imported products also did not meet the labeling requirement as they did not show the identity of importers and producers.

The Indonesian Wheat and Flour Producers Association (Aptindo) has also accused wheat flour producers from Australia, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates of dumping their products here.

The association has urged the government to impose antidumping duties.

Local flour producers include PT Bogasari Flour Mills, PT Sriboga Raya, PT Pangan Mas and PT Berdikari.