Shipments of Washington apples to its fifth-largest export market have ground to a halt after Indonesia began enforcing new inspection and labeling rules on imported fruits and vegetables — the latest eruption of non-tariff barriers that are frustrating exporters.
After months of delays, Indonesian officials said last week they will bar entry for shipments that departed after Oct. 28 unless they comply with the new regulations. But even cargo that arrived in Jakarta before that date without the required paperwork is being held up at the port.
The resulting uncertainty has all but suspended exports of Washington apples, pears, cherries and other produce and forced some shippers to scramble to reroute ocean vessels en route to Indonesia to other markets.
Not much international clout for the businessmen;
In Congress, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has been pressing for months to rescind Indonesia’s new labeling and licensing rules. Reps. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, and Doc Hasting, R-Pasco, are among those who have called on the United States Trade Representative and the Indonesian government to keep that market open to U.S. crops.
McDermott, co-chairman of the Congressional Indonesia Caucus, lobbied the Indonesian foreign minister and other officials last week while he was attending the Bali Democracy Forum in that country.