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Jakarta Post

Govt to ban quality testing in overseas laboratories

  • Linda Yulisman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, December 12, 2014   /  09:41 am

The government plans to ban quality testing of imported goods charged with mandatory Indonesian National Standards (SNI) in overseas laboratories in a move that could empower domestic laboratories and industry.

Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel said that the relocation of testing to local laboratories would be necessary to strengthen the capacity of domestic laboratories and empower the local industry.

'€œIn line with the command of the vice president, we plan to build 10 new laboratories domestically in the future,'€ he said.

At present, there are 10 laboratories used to check the quality of domestic as well as imported goods before they can obtain SNI certification.

The Industry Ministry'€™s standardization director Tony Sinambela said that by requiring domestic SNI-testing processes, the government aimed to ensure compliance of foreign manufactured goods with safety and health standards required to protect domestic consumers.

'€œWe are assessing the capacity of local testing laboratories to carry out the quality examinations. As soon as we finish, we will implement the measure,'€ he said.

Due to high inflows of imported goods to be certified and limited existing laboratories, a huge volume of goods piled up at entry seaports in the past.

In an attempt to cut the dwelling time at seaports, particularly Indonesia'€™s busiest international port, Tanjung Priok Port, the previous administration issued regulations that enabled some imported goods, such as baby clothes and toys, to be tested overseas and later get certificates from local authorities as a prerequisite to obtain the SNI.

The appointed overseas laboratories are currently located in China, which has increasingly become a dominant source of cheap imported goods to Indonesia following the implementation of the ASEAN-China free trade agreement in early 2010.

Tony further said that his office was also reviewing existing regulations allowing laboratory overseas SNI testing. '€œIf we have already got a firm position [on banning overseas SNI testing], we may need to revise the regulations, too,'€ he added.

The new policy will compliment the government'€™s plan to extend mandatory compliance to the SNI for 60 types of goods circulating in the Indonesian market, both locally sourced and imported.

Currently 106 products must fulfill standards within the SNI system, of which around 30 are electronic items. The figure is still much lower than the 8,179 SNI issued by the National Standardization
Agency (BSN).

SNI-compliant products are considered to guarantee consumer protection in terms of health, safety and environmental sustainability.

The Trade Ministry identified 1,222 SNI-noncompliant products from 2011 to 2013, almost half of which were found last year, according to the latest report on the supervision of circulated goods published last month.

In a separate development, the Trade Ministry'€™s directorate general for standards and consumer protection, in an impromptu check on Wednesday at Prumpung market in North Jakarta, found 10,000 pieces of rubber pipe for liquefied natural gas canisters, 29,000 empty optical discs and toys that did not comply with SNI and Indonesian labelling rules.

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