Business group urges government to abort planned seaweed tax

[Indonesia] People involved in the domestic seaweed business have urged the government to drop its plan to apply an export tax on raw seaweed, which they consider will hamper both the upstream and the downstream industries.

Following Presidential Instruction No. 7/2016 on the acceleration of fisheries industry development, the Finance Ministry is preparing an export duty on unprocessed seaweed to help secure its supply for local processing.

Indonesian Seaweed Association (ARLI) chairman Safari Azis said the plan would hurt the industry because the tax would raise local seaweed prices in international markets, eroding its competitiveness and potentially reducing its overseas sales.

Consequently, domestic farmers would be affected as the infrastructure to support the growth of the processing industry at home had not been properly built.

“The government needs to review its policy instead of pushing it because of lobbying from some business groups. It should communicate its [planned] policies well with relevant stakeholders,” Safari said Tuesday.

“Since it came out, the plan to impose an export tax on raw or dried seaweed has apparently raised doubts for importers worldwide about buying more seaweed from Indonesia,” he claimed.

Safari referred to ARLI’s figure of dried seaweed exports, which from January to August last year only amounted to 121,000 tons, slightly half of that exported from January to December in 2015.

Meanwhile, shipments of processed seaweed totaled 4,000 tons in the first eight months of the past year, compared to 5,967 tons in 2015. (lnd)


Photo: Farmers harvest seaweed in Kabonga Besar village in Donggala regency, Central Sulawesi. The government plans to charge an export tax on unprocessed seaweed to spur the growth of the domestic processing industry. (Antara/Basri Marzuki)

View original article at: Business group urges government to abort planned seaweed tax

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