Many U.S. agriculture, food, and beverage organizations have been following developments in Indonesia over the past 18 months that have threatened market access to that country. As background, in January 2012, the Government of Indonesia began issuing a series of new regulations announcing significant changes to their import licensing procedures for horticultural goods. While many of these regulations have since been revoked or amended, two regulations continue to impose restrictive policies on a number of imported horticultural products. The United States and other trading partners have raised concerns that these policies are unfounded and, in fact, USTR recently challenged Indonesia's new import licensing measures at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The most recent Indonesian regulations concerning the importation of horticultural products were issued in late April 2013. Ministry of Trade (MOT) Regulation 16/2013 replaces the previous MOT regulations 30 and 60, while Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Regulation 47/2013 replaces the previous MOA Regulation 60.
Both regulations apply to 39 horticultural products, including certain fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, processed vegetables, dried fruits, jams and jellies, and fruit juices. The full list of affected products can be found in the appendix of either regulation.
Although many groups had hoped for significant revisions to the original import regulations, for the most part, the new regulations retain the requirements of previous legislation for the 39 listed products. Registered importers still must obtain an import recommendation called “RIPH” from the Ministry of Agriculture before requesting import approval from the Ministry of Trade. Per Regulation 47/2013, RIPHs are only issued twice a year, once for a period from January through June and another for a period from July through December. Additionally, Regulation 16/2013 indicates that each shipment must undergo a pre-shipment technical survey and abide by specific packaging and labeling requirements. Applications for importer registration as well as import approval must be submitted through INATRADE, Indonesia's online trade licensing system.
A new item introduced in MOA Regulation 47/2013 states that fresh horticultural products cannot be imported after six months from the date of harvest. This six-month import limit does not apply to processed products. MOA Regulation 47/2013 also requires packing house registration and GAP certificates. Another new documentation requirement is MOT Regulation 16/2013's stipulation that importers must submit an “Import Realization Control Card” to declare the amount of product being imported into Indonesia. This document must be submitted by the importer every month through the INATRADE system.
MOT Regulation 16/2013 and MOA Regulation 47/2013 will enter into force from the second semester of 2013 (July-December). Importers will be able to request RIPH for this period as of May 29, 2013.
Further details on the requirements of the new regulations can be found in the following report from the Foreign Agricultural Service's (FAS) Jakarta office.
The United States has requested a WTO dispute settlement panel concerning the trade restrictions arising from these new regulations. Australia, China, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan will be participating in the panel as third parties. The first meeting of the panel has yet to be announced.