Indonesian govt urged to protect local wheat flour producers

Rabu, 05 Desember 2012 | 08:46

The Indonesian Wheat Flour Producers Assocation (Aptindo) has asked the government to protect local producers from unfair threat in the current free trade era."We do not need incentives but protection in the form of an import duty such as the 20 percent that has been temporarily imposed by the government on wheat flour imports," Ratna Sari Loppies, executive director of Aptido, said here on Monday.

She said that if the government`s protection was carried out well, there would be no need for Indonesia to be afraid of the free trade era.

The protection would boost the development of local industries, she added.

"If the local industries are developing it would benefit workers. If imports that develop it would not absorb a lot of workers," she noted.

Regarding the complaint made by Turkish wheat flour exporters on Indonesia`s step to impose a safeguard measure on its wheat import, Ratna said Turkey must lodge a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"Based on business ethics, Turkey should lodge a complaint at the WTO, not at Indonesia. It should not just make a fuss and blame the Indonesian government. Indonesia, which is also affected by an anti-dumping measure imposed by Turkey, does not make a fuss because we know business ethics and mechanism," Ratna stressed.

By criticizing Indonesia, she noted, the Turkish Wheat Flour Business Association is `not implementing the correct mechanism`.

"If they are not satisfied with Indonesia`s decision to impose the import duty, they could file a complaint with the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO," Ratna stated.

They should not make a fuss and be angry at the Indonesian government and at Aptindo. Aptindo has so far been in line with the regulations set by the WTO, she pointed out.

The Turkish exporters are taking the lobbying approach to influence certain parties in Indonesia, ignoring the WTO mechanism, to make their trade operations smooth in the country, according to Ratna said.

"They are not aware that what they have done violates the WTO regulations," she added.

The Indonesian government has taken a decision to impose a 20 percent tax on its wheat flour imports from Turkey, after it was proven that Turkey sold its wheat flour exports in Indonesia at dumping prices, harming the interests of local producers, Ratna explained.

Therefore, she said, the Aptindo decided to impose the import duty.

Chairman of Turkish Vegetable Oil, Grain and Wheat Flour Exporters Association Turgay Unlu expressed his disappointment, in a written statement on Saturday, to the Indonesian finance minister for approving the imposition of the tax on all Turkish wheat flour products.

"The steps taken by Indonesia are in violation of WTO`s decisions and regulations," Unlu noted.

Those steps are supported by a number of business owners who wanted to create industrial monopoly," he stated.

According to Unlu, there is no country in the world which imposes such duties on wheat flour imports from Turkey. Indonesia is the only country in the world which did it.

"Aptindo and a number of local producers are only interested in protecting their own interests, without paying attention to the interests of the Indonesian people," he added.