BTV, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo on Wednesday ordered stern measures against the import of used clothing that according to him did serious damage to the already struggling domestic textile industry.
"I have given the order for the crackdown and within the last two days many have been discovered," the president told reporters in Jakarta.
"Used clothing import really caused disruption [to the domestic textile industry]," he added.
Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said the ban on the import of second-hand products has been expanded beyond apparel and footwear.
The new policy is aimed at protecting the domestic industries, the minister said, adding that his office will team up with law enforcement agencies to enforce the new regulation.
Earlier this week, the National Statistics Agency reported that second-hand clothing imports jumped by 277.75 percent from 8 tons in 2021 to 26.22 tons last year. The used clothes imports in 2022 were also worth $272,146, up 518.5 percent from $44,000 a year earlier.
The figures are likely to be higher as many products enter Indonesia via illegal means through small ports across the country.
"Our market is huge, but we are getting a lot of imported products. This can deal a fatal blow on the domestic industry," Tauhid Ahmad, the executive director at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), told Jakarta Globe's sister publication Investor Daily in Jakarta on Sunday.
The local textile industry today has to deal with a myriad of problems. It is suffering from a decline in exports but is also competing with imports that are cheaper and more attractive in design. And now it is up against imported used clothing that has significantly lower prices, according to Tauhid.
"The government must immediately implement stringent law enforcement to save the national textile and textile product industry. Particularly by taking measures on the importers and the merchants, because it would relatively be more difficult if [those measures] are aimed for consumers," Tauhid said.