Trade Ministry eases import regulations

22 May 2024

Bilateral Trade
Export & Import

In a move welcomed by local businesses, the Indonesian government has issued a new regulation aimed at easing import restrictions for certain goods. This marks the third policy revision since March, addressing the significant disruptions caused by earlier restrictions. 


The Trade Ministry's latest regulation, issued on Friday, amends the existing import rules to facilitate the entry of essential goods and raw materials. Businesses had been struggling with stringent import restrictions that led to significant delays and a backlog of shipments at major ports. 


Shinta Kamdani, chairwoman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), expressed relief over the new regulation in a press statement. "This policy is in sync with businesses’ aspirations that need eased imports of raw material, auxiliary goods, and capital goods, keeping in mind that import restrictions for consumer goods and illegal [products] create unhealthy business competition," she said, as quoted by The Jakarta Post. 


The government responded to these concerns with Trade Ministerial Regulation No. 8/2024, which removes many raw and auxiliary materials from the list of prohibited or restricted items under the Harmonized System (HS). This is the third revision of Trade Ministerial Regulation No. 36/2023, originally implemented to protect local producers. 


Prior revisions primarily focused on personal use items and some industrial raw materials, but thousands of products remained under strict controls. The latest changes aim to alleviate the backlog of approximately 26,000 containers at the ports of Tanjung Priok and Tanjung Perak. 


Key adjustments in the new regulation include relaxed restrictions for electronics, shoes, clothing, bags, valves, cosmetics, household goods, traditional medicines, and health supplements. For some categories, such as traditional medicines, cosmetics, and health supplements, only a surveyor report (LS) will be required instead of an LS plus an import permit (PI). Additionally, the need for technical approval (Pertek) from the Industry Ministry has been removed for electronics, shoes, clothing, and bags. 


Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto highlighted that these revisions were made following direct instructions from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. "Noncommercial goods, non-trade goods, or [goods for] personal use will be released from the import restrictions," he stated during a press briefing on Friday. 


Despite easing many restrictions, Pertek is still required for iron and steel imports. However, the government will allow firms to clear out existing backlogs of these goods at ports.