TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian textile products are becoming less and less competitive in the US and European markets. One reason is because Indonesia has yet take part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a community that gives import duty cuts for its members.
After joining the TPP, Vietnam received five to 12 percent cut in import duties on products exported to America. Meanwhile, Indonesia still has to pay 12 to 31 percent import duty. As a result, the volume of Indonesian textile exports is far below Vietnam's even though "we have been a textile manufacturer since the 1980s, while Vietnam only started in the 2000s," Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat told reporters in Jakarta yesterday.
Therefore, textile entrepreneurs are urging the government to lobby the US so that Indonesia can join the TPP soon. Ade also asked the government to negotiate with the European Union, which is the second largest export market for Indonesian textiles after America.
Meanwhile, the Industry Ministry is encouraging the national textile industry to produce more goods with added values. By producing textiles that are more than ordinary garment, the products' competitiveness is expected to increase.
"Producing technical textiles will also get us tax allowances," said Elis Masitoh, head of the Garment and Textile Industry Sub Directorate at the Ministry of Industry, yesterday.
According to Elis, the government has aggressively lobbied South Korea and Germany to invest on technical textile in Indonesia. These countries are considered more advanced in the field, so their investment in Indonesia would allow a transfer of technology. Technical textile is quite a new field for Indonesia.