The Jakarta Post
Key players in the Indonesian textile sector have formally agreed to optimize locally sourced, sustainably produced rayon to drive the growth of the national textile industry, which is a core pillar of the country’s economy.
Representatives from the government, the textile and fashion sectors and industry associations signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on domestically produced rayon at a multi-stakeholders meeting in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, recently.
Also at the signing ceremony were Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat, Indonesian Association of Synthetic Fiber Producers (APSyFI) secretary-general Redma Gita, Indonesia Fashion Chamber members Yufie Kartaatmaja and Ichwan Thoha, and Oline Workrobe owner Caroline Siahaan.
Achmad Sigit Dwiwahjono, the Industry Ministry’s director general of chemical, textile and miscellaneous industries, said the government was committed to developing the textile industry by promoting local products and attracting investors.
The optimization of the use of Indonesia-made rayon can play a significant role in boosting textile exports and reducing high dependency on imports to allow the country to catch up as part of the fourth industrial revolution.
“We want to promote the use of locally sourced textiles, such as rayon and polyester fibers, to lessen our dependence on imported products,” said Sigit, who was accompanied by the Ministry’s Textile Director Muchdori.
In the past three years, Indonesia has seen increased exports of local textiles and textile products, with the export value increasing from US$11.87 billion in 2016 to $12.59 billion in 2017, and to $13.27 billion in 2018.
"The majority of export products are clothing, which comprise 63.1 percent,” Sigit said. “This year’s export value is projected to reach $15 billion. The target will be difficult to achieve if we don’t increase national production.”
The increased use of viscose rayon, or rayon, in manufacturing is expected to increase the production output of the textile industry, especially as the textile can act as a substitute for polyester and cotton. Local production of polyester and cotton still does not meet the demands of the national textile and garment industry.
“Polyester production is not well developed enough, while cotton fabrics are still nearly 100 percent imported,” said Muchdori. “As all stakeholders have gathered together in one forum, we [now] know all the latest developments and we have all agreed to use local products.”
The Industry Ministry has partnered with Bank Indonesia to encourage banks to support local textile producers in a departure from the past, when banks did not prioritize the textile industry.
The use of domestic rayon, which is produced in abundance, is expected to help Indonesia’s textile industry to take a greater role in the global market.
“Rayon can be an alternative material in Indonesia,” said Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) director Basrie Kamba, adding that rayon was a competitively priced and widely available eco-friendly fabric.
APR, which began production in December, last year, has already produced 120,000 tons of rayon fibers. "Almost half of the output goes to the local market, while the rest has been shipped to 14 countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Germany and Italy.”
Basrie expressed his appreciation for the government’s support for the sustainable development of the national textile industry. “APR is committed to support the growth of Indonesia’s textile industry - from upstream, middle to downstream sectors. All the different actors in the textile industry must collaborate closely and harmoniously so that we can develop collectively to achieve our common goal: Revitalizing the textile industry".
The market potential for this industry is very promising, he said, with Indonesia’s spending on Muslim clothing valued at US$20 billion in 2017. "That's a huge market. We should make sure local players are able to thrive and prosper,” Basrie stated.
If local companies used domestically produced rayon efficiently, the textile could become an icon of the Indonesian garment sector and expand the textile industry’s global market share. To achieve this, all players from upstream to downstream should pursue research and development into sustainably produced rayon, said Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat.
Meanwhile, APSyFI’s Redma Gita Wirawasta said that the national textile industry was suffering a massive trade deficit, exporting 500,000 tons of garments and importing 900,000 tons, and urged the government to develop a policy strategy to protect the industry.
Among the realistic solutions was boosting the use of local materials and reducing imports. Indonesia’s textile industry experienced its heyday in the 1980s, when it recorded excellent performance and healthy growth to rank above Vietnam and other neighboring countries.
“This was a result of the government’s effective policies on import substitution and effective industry cooperation,” said Redma. “If we restore these policies, it’s possible that we can revive the glory of our textile industry.”
All participants in the multi-stakeholders meeting agreed that they favored the “Everything Indonesia” approach, which prioritized the use of domestic materials to restore the glory of the national textile industry.
Designer Yufie Kartaatmaja from IFC stressed that stakeholders needed to keep an eye on current developments like the Muslim fashion industry, which uses a large volume of fabrics.
“But it’s hard for us to obtain suitable fabrics that meet the needs of our brands and our customers, who want affordable products. This is what we must address within the industry,” said Yulfie.