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Indonesia: New Regulation on Phone Imports

(Jan. 8, 2013) On December 27, 2012, Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade issued Regulation 82/M-DAG/PER/12/2012, effective on January 1, 2013, on the importation of various kinds of mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and tablet computers. The goals of the new regulation are to curb sales of illegal products and to protect local industry. (Press Release, Ministry of Trade Public Relations Center, The Ministry of Trade Issues Regulation on the Import of Cellular Phones, Handheld Computers and Tablet Computers (Dec. 30, 2012); Linda Yulisman, Govt Tightens Imports to Curb Sales of Illegal Products, THE JAKARTA POST (Dec. 31, 2012).)

The new regulation establishes that the phones, digital assistants, and tablets must be imported by registered importers, which are licensed by the Ministry. In addition, import companies need to have permits and approvals from the overseas companies that manufacture their devices. No such permits had been required in the past. (Yulisman, supra.)

The Minister of Trade, Gita Wirjawan, emphasized that the regulation was needed due to the increase in sub-standard products entering the Indonesian market from abroad. (Press Release, supra.) He stated that under the regulation “every cellular phone, handheld computer, and tablet computer imported must meet the quality standards and technical requirements that apply.” (New More Stringent Import Regulation for Cell Phones, Handheld and Tablet Computers, JAKARTA UPDATES (Jan. 7, 2013).)

In order to obtain the needed permits, importers will have to demonstrate that they have contracts with at least three local sellers who will place the imported items on the local market; import firms will not be permitted to sell their products directly to retail stores. (Press Release, supra.) The devices can be imported through five approved sea ports and four approved airports, located in various parts of Indonesia. (New More Stringent Import Regulation for Cell Phones, Handheld and Tablet Computers, supra.)

Speaking earlier in 2012, Budi Darmadi, the Director General for High Technology Leading Industry of Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry, argued that new import rules for mobile phones would spur the development of the domestic industry of manufacturing medium- and low-end mobile phones. (Yulisman, supra.)

Because one goal of the regulation is to improve the quality of imported goods and reduce the number of fraudulent sales in the market, importers will have to undergo reviews by the Ministry of Industry and checks of the imported international mobile equipment, including for electronic serial numbers and other identifying marks by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Furthermore, samples of imported gadgets will be checked for proper Indonesian labeling. Any imported gadget not in compliance with the new rules will be re-exported. (Id.)

The volume of the regulated devices being imported into Indonesia is large and growing. According to Deddy Saleh, Director General of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Trade, “[t]he recorded import of mobile phones is around 40 million units a year, but industry players estimate that illegal imports could be twice that.” (Tito Summa Siahaan, Indonesian Govt to Regulate Laptop, Mobile Phone Imports, THE JAKARATA GLOBE (Nov. 14, 2012).) Another estimate put the number of imports at 25 million in 2009 and estimated the volume to be about 45 million in 2012. (Yulisman, supra.)