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New Import Rules Delayed

Trade Minister Mari Pangestu Postpones Tough New Import Rules to Get Help Get Indonesian Businesses through the Holiday Season.

(12/13/2008) Kompas reports that the government will postpone the implementation of new import regulations due to take effect from December 15, 2008. The new regulations intended to protect local industry and Indonesian markets will now only come into effect on February 1, 2009, to facilitate a smooth transition and avoid any possible marketplace disruptions over the coming holiday period.

The new import rules are set forth in by the Minister of Trade's Regulation Number 44 of 2008 published on October 31, 2008. Those regulations stipulate that the importation of garments, stockings, electronics, toys, food and beverages must enter the country only via registered importers. Registered importers, in turn, must submit annual importation plans stipulating specific amounts and types of items they wish to bring into Indonesia. In a further effort to end smuggling, the new regulations also restricts to importation via the ports of Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Medan and Makassar.

When contacted by the press on Friday, December 12, 2008, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said the postponement was necessary due to "technical implementation considerations in the field." In a possibly related but separate development, it is known that President Yudhoyono ordered that immediate action be taken by Minister Pangestu to alleviate current importation bottlenecks following a meeting earlier in the week with Baliís governor Pastika in which concerns were raised regarding the critical shortages of food and beverage being experienced the island's tourism industry. Pangestu explained: "Our reasons are practical. We do not wish to disturb the smooth flow of merchandise during Christmas and New Year. In addition, the readiness of our surveyors (to handle the new rules) was also a consideration."

It still remains unclear how the delay in the implementation of the new custom's regulations will assist Bali's current severe shortage of imported food and alcoholic beverage.

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