Association claims govt. breaches ILO, WTO policies

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 13:25

Bob Budiman, the Deputy Chairman of GISIMINDO, an Indonesian association of plantation product importers, pointed out that the government's decision to limit the number of ports for horticulture imports might contradict World Trade Organizations' international import licensing agreement and similar policies by the International Labor Organization.

One of the key aspects of the decision is the omitting of Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta as main entry point for horticulture imports, stated within the Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture Number 88, 99 and 90 Year 2011.

"It was stated within the Import Licensing Agreement by WTO that all participating countries must provide the simplest, most transparent regulations for imports, including highly predictive and swift process. Yet the Ministry has continuously released contradicting regulations, which eventually burdening importers with bigger costs and possibility of forced briberies," he said on Thursday.

Bob believed that if the regulations aren't retracted before they come into effect on March 20, macro economic turmoil might emerge.

"We are worried that ships who have normally gone to Jakarta for shipments would not leave for Makassar, Surabaya or Belawan due to their distances, which translate to additional costs. It will be easier for them to stop delivering to Indonesia instead," he said, adding that Tanjung Priok played significant role in channeling fruits and vegetable products to around 50 million citizens of Jakarta and West Java.

In addition to the ten-fold transport cost, from Surabaya to Jakarta instead of directly from Jakarta, data from Pelindo II revealed that Tanjung Priok port has the capacity of channeling roughly 410,000 containers a month, in which fruit imports only accounted between 3,000 to 5,000 containers a month. (eaz)

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