The Jakarta Post
In following up on the issuance of the government's economic policy package last week, the Trade Ministry will ease export and import regulations to improve the business climate and ensure national stocks of basic commodities, an official has said.
The ministry's deregulation team head Arlinda Imbang Jaya said at least 32 regulations, mostly ministerial regulations, would be amended by the ministry through October this year.
The ministry will also cut at least 38 export and import permits from the total of 121 permits under the ministry, including four registered exporter (ET) permits, 21 registered importer (IT) permits and 13 producing importer (IP) permits.
'We hope the measure will increase the flow of goods for imports, exports and domestic trade, as well as ensure the supply of the commodities in the market and therefore stabilize prices,' Arlinda said at a press briefing on Friday.
Indonesia recorded US$6.22 billion in trade surplus in the January-August period of this year, with total exports and imports slumping by 12.7 percent and 18.96 percent year-on-year (yoy), respectively.
The declining exports and imports have indicated that many industries in the country are still facing a slowdown.
The ease for exports and imports will also be applied on so-called strategic commodities, such as rice, sugar, salt and plantation products, with the removal of requirements for recommendations from other ministries and agencies for the import and export of the products.
'We have finished talking with the ministries that usually give the recommendations, such as the Industry Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and others. There are some policies that need relaxation from their side to remove the recommendation requirements,' she said.
Arlinda added that through the import relaxation, the ministry hoped that the industry could better utilize raw materials.
Imports of raw materials increased by 18.7 percent month-to-month (mtm) to $9.15 billion in August, a reverse from the 21.4
percent drop a month before, according to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data.
Under the new regulation, the government would make a decision on local production, national demand and import volume of the commodities in a limited coordination meeting (Rakortas), involving related ministries.
Regarding rice imports, the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) previously said that the national stock of subsidized rice would be close to running out by the year's end, as the stock stood at 62,000 tons while it needed 1.5 to 2 million tons to meet next year's demand. The impact of El NiÃ±o on production also loomed, though Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman has stated his confidence on not importing rice this year.
With regard to salt imports, Arlinda said the ministry would scrap requirements for IT and IP, saying the requirement would only be applied to producing importers' identification numbers (API).
Similar ease on imports would also be applied to other commodities, such as steel, with the scrapping of tax identification number (NPWP) and business permit (SIUP) document requirements.
According to Arlinda, the export-import process would also be available online starting October.
With the easing, the ministry would also still manage the flow of imports by obliging importers to uphold the policy to label imported product in Indonesian prior to selling them. (fsu)
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