Govt action needed on illegal zinc imports

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Wed, November 27 2013, 9:50 AM

Zinc producers have urged the government to take stern action against the illegal importation of zinc products as it severely hurts the domestic industry.

Indonesian Zinc Factories Association (GAPSI) co-chairman Agus Salim said the government must put an end to the smuggling, otherwise local producers would be unable compete with imported products that were sold at a very low price.

The association was referring to zinc sheets allegedly smuggled from China and Vietnam.

While Indonesian National Standards (SNI) require zinc sheets to have an average weight of 120 grams per square meter, the illegal products usually weigh 32.93 grams per square meter.

Agus said zinc sheets sold for Rp 33,000 (US$ 2.8) to Rp 34,000 each while illegal products were offered at an average price of Rp 3,500 each.

Local producers cannot lower their prices to compete with illegal products because doing so would cost them Rp 87.5 billion in losses per month.

Azis Pane from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) said two or three zinc producers had closed down because they could not compete with smuggled products.

“Some companies have even turned to become suppliers of illegal zinc sheets, saying that it is more profitable than being a zinc producer,” Azis said on Tuesday without revealing the names of the companies.

Not only does the illegal importation of zinc sheets severely affect the domestic industry, the unlawful practice also disadvantages the public.

“The smuggled zinc sheets are of very poor quality. While SNI-certified zinc sheets can last five to 10 years, the illegal zinc sheets last for only one year,” he said.

“Consumers aren’t aware of this durability as they are only lured by the low price.”

Indonesia Zinc-Aluminum Steel Industries secretary-general L. Karina, meanwhile, said the low quality of illegally imported zinc sheets would hurt Indonesia’s competitiveness ahead of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

She said Indonesia produced 25 million zinc sheets per month and the country accounted for 65 to 72 percent of ASEAN members’ total zinc consumption.

“Zinc sheets are essential for Indonesia’s industrial sector,” she told a press conference on Tuesday.

Agus said the government needed to maintain strict requirements for SNI certification to avoid the smuggling of low-quality products into the country.

“The certification body should be independent and beyond outside intervention that could lead to allowing particular importers deviating from the SNI,” he said.

Azis said his institution and GAPSI would send a letter to the National Police’s criminal investigations unit to urge it to keep a sharp eye on the smuggling of illegal zinc sheets. (ogi)


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