New regulations ease food and seen import restrictions in Indonesia

Trade stock

At a time when food insecurity threatens millions of people in Indonesia, two new policy reforms spearheaded by the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) , an Atlas Network partner, will expedite food imports and other strategic materials.

In the wake of the global economic shutdown, securing supply lines for food has never been more necessary. CIPS research, education, and advocacy campaigns in support of reduced trade barriers have taken on new importance in light of the lockdown caused by COVID-19. As a result of their efforts, the Ministry of Trade is implementing Regulation 27/2020, which allows garlic and onion imports to enter the country without an import license letter. In April, Indonesian President Joko Widodo published Presidential Regulation 58/2020 on Arrangement and Simplification of Import Licensing to expedite the import process for food, raw materials, and other strategic items. President Widodo was also receptive to CIPS' recomendation for reducing government restrictions on the import of parental seeds.

CIPS has advocated for the removal of trade restrictions for years, educating government officials and the public about how reduced barriers will lead to more food at a lower cost. CIPS conducted interviews with officials from the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture, the National Development Planning Agency, and members of various import associations to learn how to best advocate the importance of a policy change.

Throughout the crisis, CIPS has been actively hosting weekly webinars on pressing issues, including two webinars on ensuring food security and rice price increases. These two webinars were attended by more than 230 participants. The webinar on rice prices was especially popular among government representatives from the Ministries of Trade, Agriculture, who were more than 40 percent of the webinar’s attendees, including representatives from the Ministries of Trade, Agriculture, and Finance; the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, and Bank Indonesia.

The Center for Indonesian Policy Studies recieved an Atlas Network grant to help promote their trainings and advocacy efforts.