The Jakarta Post
The government will attempt to push up the leverage of Indonesian herbal and traditional medicine (jamu) at the regional and global level by lobbying ASEAN countries and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Industry Ministry's director general for base manufacturing industry, Harjanto, said that the government would propose a special classification code for jamu under the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) to facilitate its trade within Southeast Asia, which will be crucial when the regional single market is established next year.
The AHTN is an eight-digit commodity nomenclature that refers to the Harmonized System (HS) of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and comprises around 10,000 tariff lines of goods traded among the grouping.
'Jamu is eligible to be categorized as a single classification code as its business value surpasses the minimum benchmark of US$1 million,' Harjanto said Monday after meeting jamu producers at his office.
In addition, the government would request that the WTO give a geographical indication for jamu, enabling it to be recognized as a product uniquely made in Indonesia.
'Jamu will be acknowledged as an Indonesia heritage and will be better known worldwide,' Harjanto added.
Geographical indications are usually place names, and in some countries also words associated with a place, used to signify products deriving from these places and possess these characteristics, such as 'champagne' and 'tequila'.
These particular locations can determine a product's quality, reputation or other characteristics.
The recognition will guarantee a certain extent of protection as the product will be covered by the agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Harjanto further said that to ensure a standard of jamu, particularly to be promoted for export, the government would assess the possibility of applying the Indonesian National Standard (SNI).
Indonesia, home to highly diversified herbs, expects domestic sales of herbal and traditional medicine, including food supplements and cosmetics, to expand by 15 percent this year to Rp 15 trillion ($1.23 billion) from last year, due to its increasingly health-conscious middle-income bracket, according to the Indonesian Herbal and Traditional Medicine Association (GP Jamu).
Jamu will contribute Rp 3 trillion to overall sales.
Meanwhile, GP Jamu chairman Charles Saerang expects the government to improve the business climate in the herbal and traditional medicine industry, enabling the domestic market to reach its potential of Rp 80 trillion.
One of the biggest tasks for the government would be to fight against rising sales of illegal herbal medicine, he added.
'The potentials of this industry are tremendous. But the authorities should fight against illegal products, including imported ones,' Charles said.
Apart from that, he demanded that the supervision of herbal and traditional medicine manufacturers be placed under the Industry Ministry to spur growth of the industry.
Currently, the manufacturers, which produce 1,247 different kinds of jamu and employ 15 million workers nationwide, are under supervision of the Health Ministry.