Indonesian Cosmetic Manufacturers Request Free Trade Postponement

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Indonesian cosmetics and herbal medicine producers are requesting an exemption for their products from the ASEAN-China free trade agreement, according to a report from the Jakarta Globe.

The Agreement on Trade in Goods (TIG) of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and China, also referred to as the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, was signed by the Economic Ministers of ASEAN and China in November 2004. According to this agreement, the free trade is to be established by Jan. 1, 2010, between China and the ASEAN countries: Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Similarly, free trade between China and the newer ASEAN member states: Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Vietnam, is expected by 2015.

The Indonesian Cosmetic Association (Perkosmi) has reportedly requested a postponement in the implementation of the agreement, specifically in relation to cosmetics and jamu (herbal medicine) imports. According to the report, Indonesian cosmetic manufacturers are concerned about competing with illegal Chinese imports that are cheaper, some of questionable quantity.

The manufacturers have asked for stricter supervision of cosmetics and jamu products, calling upon the Health Ministry's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to conduct quality checks on them since, reportedly, Chinese labels often have been found not to be legal.

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