Indonesia Eases Import Rule for Some Goods to Clear Containers

(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia has revised an import rule in a bid to release thousands of containers being held up at its ports, after businesses complained that the trade restriction was disrupting operations.

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Goods including cosmetics, bags and valves will no longer need permits to enter the country, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said in a briefing on Friday. Electronic shipments will no longer need technical licenses even if they still need import permits, he added.

Commodities such as iron, steel and textiles will also need import licenses, which the government vows to process quickly. The rule change is effective as of Friday and applies to goods that reached the country’s ports from March 10 onwards. About 26,000 containers are stuck in ports across the nation, Hartarto said.

Business councils have protested against the rule that effectively restricted the imports of about 4,000 goods, saying the regulation has led to snarls in local manufacturing and risks damaging Indonesia’s economic credibility. Bloomberg earlier reported that the Coordinating Investment and Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Panjaitan had pledged to representatives of the business chambers that the rule would be revised.

--With assistance from Eko Listiyorini.

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