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Jakarta Post

Digital goods duties: Who picks up the tab?

  • Carmelo Ferlito and Sukasah Syahdan

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Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta   /   Thu, January 11, 2018   /  12:42 pm
Digital goods duties: Who picks up the tab? The government believes imposing the duties will “create a level playing field between online and offline sellers and increase fiscal revenues.” (Shutterstock/File)

Indonesia is moving forward with its plan to impose import duties on digital products next year. As reported in this newspaper, the duties will be imposed despite the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) e-commerce moratorium that member countries would not impose customs duties on electronic transmissions. 

The government believes imposing the duties will “create a level playing field between online and offline sellers and increase fiscal revenues.” If it succeeds in implementing its plan, Indonesia would become the only country to violate the WTO moratorium and risk being sued by other countries. Apart from that, we must figure out who will actually be picking up the tab. 

Duties are taxes imposed on buyers for every unit of goods purchased, regardless of whether the goods are physical goods or services, analog or digital. Whether i...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.