Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A lawmaker has urged the government to immediately review ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) which he said has put local producers under a threat of bankruptcy due to a glut of cheaper Chinese products to the domestic market.

"If the accord is continued, the national industry will collapse. It is a matter of time for them to go bankrupt," Deputy Chairman of the House Commission VI Nurdin Tampubolon said here on Tuesday.

To prevent the accord from hurting further the national industry, the government must try hard to renegotiate it. Otherwise, the national industry would collapse, he said.

Nurdin said Industry Minister Mohammad S Hidayat himself had admitted that the government had no grand design to face ACFTA. On the other hand, the domestic market had been under pressure due to a glut of cheaper Chinese products.

What was most likely for the government to deal with the matter other than renegotiating the accord was improving the competitive edge of national products. But this was not an easy job because the government had to improve various regulations, scrap illegal levies, cut lending rates, and control imported goods, among others, he said.

Right now the implementation of ACFTA had begun to hurt the national industry and affect products in regions, he said. "I have just arrived from a working visit in Maluku where I found imported goods including fish were sold there. As a matter of fact, we are a maritime state."

Asked why the government had no grand design to face the accord which had been put into force for more than one year now, he said the trade minister must be held responsible for the matter because she was unable to renegotiate it.

"Since the beginning the government in this case the trade ministry should have looked at the aim of the accord (carefully). Will we cause misery to our people? Don`t do that," he said.

ACFTA was signed in 2004 but only fully implemented on January 1, 2010.

Trade Ministry data show that Indonesia export to China was valued at US$15.7 billion last year compared to US$11.5 billion in 2009. Imports from China in 2010 was US$20.4 billion, a 31 percent increase compared to US$14 billion in 2009.(*)


Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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