The textile industry is seeking the government’s protection from high growth of imports as the sector could not compete in both domestic and international markets.
According to data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), export growth in the textile industry has been just 3 percent annually over the last 10 years, while import growth was 20 percent annually in the same period.
Indonesian All Textile Experts Association (IKATSI) chairman Suharno Rusdi said the textile industry was currently in very bad condition because the domestic market was flooded by imported products.
“If it is allowed to happen continuously, it would endanger our textile industry and textile products because we will rely on imported products and the local textile industry will further lose its domestic market,” he said on Monday as quoted by kontan.co.id.
To deal with the issue, Indonesia needed to introduce a law on cloth sovereignty to help the domestic textile industry to develop, Suharno said, adding that the law would not only regulate imports, but also had to offer incentives to support the development of the national textile industry.
“The existence of such a law is urgent for the national industry. IKATSI will struggle to support the birth of such a law,” he said.
Indonesian Filament and Fiber Producers Association (APSyFI) secretary-general Redma Gita Wirawasta made a similar statement, saying the upcoming Idul Fitri celebration should be used as an opportunity by the government to protect local textile products from the storm of imported products.
“In the last five years, Indonesia’s local textiles could not benefit from Idul Fitri because of the entry of thousands of containers of textile products to the Indonesian market,” Redma said, adding that in 2017, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati tried to stop the massive entry of textile products, but it only lasted six months.
Therefore, Redma called on the Trade Ministry to immediately control the entry of textile imports to help the local industry survive.
He also called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to pay attention to the issue because the massive imports of such products had also contributed to the country’s trade deficit.