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New import regulation upsets big retailers, pharmaceutical firms

Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 05/11/2012 8:43 AM
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Indonesian retailers have called for the government to revise a newly-launched rule on the import of finished products, saying that the new import policy will seriously hurt their business.

Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) executive director Tutum Rahanta said on Thursday that the regulation had created some difficulties for certain retailers, particularly international retail outlets, because they were only allowed to import products in the same categories, for example textiles and textile products, and footwear and footwear products. 

In fact, the retail outlets currently import a wide-range of items from different categories: food and beverage, cosmetics, garment and textiles, footwear, tools and equipment.

 “We [retailers] should not be treated like general importers because we import [various kinds of products] for our own outlets, which have been closely tied to our own brands. It will be very difficult if we make a separate company to be allowed to import different kinds of products,” he said on the sidelines of the 2012 Retail Summit in Jakarta. 

Tutum said that the government should exempt retailers from the new import regulation and allow them to import different categories of goods as long as they were labeled under the same brands.

Last week, the Trade Ministry issued a new regulation on import arrangements, aimed at tightening import supervision, stimulating investment in the country, and speeding up industrialization in the country. 

According to the new regulation, which became effective from May 1, a general importer can only import products from the same category. Previously, a general importer was allowed to import a wide array of products from different categories.

In addition to this, a producer-importer is authorized to import raw materials, intermediary goods and capital goods to support its manufacturing processes. It can also import finished goods for market testing and for supplementing its production activities under certain quotas and time frames issued by the Trade Ministry .

At present, Indonesia imports more than 8,000 different types of products under a harmonized system of classification comprising 21 sections.

Parulian Simanjuntak, the executive secretary of the International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (IPMG), representing 34 international drug producers and sellers in Indonesia, said that the new regulation caused a new problem for drug producers as they had to set up new companies under the category of “general importers” in order to be able to get licenses to import items other than medicines.

At present, several IPMG members imported health equipment for domestic sales in addition to patented medicines and raw materials to make medicines.

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