In connection with the Covid-19 pandemic and preparations for the Holy Month of Ramadan in 2020, the Minister of Trade issued Regulation of the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia Number 27 of 2020 on Amendments to the Minister of Trade Regulation Number 44 of 2019 on Provisions of the Import of Horticultural Products which provides relaxation for the importation of horticultural products namely garlic and onions by revoking the Import Licensing (SPI), or Surveyor Report (LS) issued by the Ministry of Trade for the period of March 18, 2020 until May 31, 2020.
Relaxation of the importation of garlic and onion may lead to polemics for garlic importers who have received Horticultural Product Import Recommendations (RIPH) whether they still need to go through the process in accordance with the provisions of Law 13 of 2010 concerning Horticulture (“Law 13/2010”) juncto Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture No. 39 of 2019 concerning Recommendations for Importing Horticultural Products (“Permendag 39/2019”) and other relevant regulations?
Subject to Article 8 of Permendag 39/2019, exceptions to importation of horticultural products are only products that meet the following criteria: a) the need for testing, research, and development of science; b) examples that are not for sale; and / or c) private passengers, transport crew.
Article 88 of Law 13/2010 confirms that the import of horticultural products shall consider the aspects of: (i) food security of horticultural products; (ii) availability of domestic horticultural products; (iii) setting of production and consumption targets for horticultural products; (iv) packaging and labeling requirements; (v) quality standards; and (vi) safety and protection provisions for human, animal, plant and environmental health.
Additionally, RIPH and SPI are absolute requirements that must be obtained by importers so that they are deemed to have met the technical and administrative requirements as regulated by Article 88 paragraph (2) of Law 13/2010. The existence of RIPH and SPI nationally will impact on the importation behavior of garlic, which is transparent, accountable and nationally controlled.
This is also related to the technical and administrative requirements that must be fulfilled by importers, causing a “multiplier impact” which is expected to prevent speculators from “playing” by utilizing this condition.
So, what about the revocation of the Surveyor Report (LS)? According to Permendag 39/2019, the Surveyor Report includes: (i) data or information concerning; (ii) data or information contained in the importation agreement; (iii) inclusion of the Food Tara logo and recycling code on the packaging; (iv) health certificates; (v) phytosanitary certificate; (vi) certificate of origin; (vii) certificate of test results for food grade packaging or statement from importers stating that the packaging used is in accordance with the prevailing regulations. Therefore, the revocation of Surveyor Report (LS) can affect the certainty or guarantee of imported products especially the garlic which the imported garlic products must be inspected or supervised as stipulated under the Minister of Agriculture Regulation No. 42 / Permentan / OT.140 / 6/2012 concerning Plant Quarantine Actions for Importing Fresh Fruits and Fresh Fruit Vegetables into the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia.
Further, it should be noted that Article 128 of Law 13/2010 states that every person who circulates fresh imported horticultural products that do not meet the quality standards and / or food safety as referred to in Article 88 paragraph (4), shall be sentenced to a maximum imprisonment of 2 (two) year or a maximum fine of IDR 2,000,000,000.00 (two billion rupiah).
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