We will issue a decision to stop export of rattan as a raw material but the policy will be formulated holistically in consideration of conditions in rattan producing regions.
Cirebon, West Java, (ANTARA News) - Trade Mnister Gita Wirjawan said the government will soon stop rattan exports and let local industries absorb the country`s raw rattan output so as to create more jobs and added value.

"We will issue a decision to stop export of rattan as a raw material but the policy will be formulated holistically in consideration of conditions in rattan producing regions," Gita said in a dialog with local rattan industry entrepreneurs at the Cirebon district adminstration`s meeting hall here on Friday. Also present at the meeting were Industry Minister MS Hidayat and Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan.

He said the policy would be made with due consideration of supplies from producing regions, forest preservation and developing rattan industries in the producing regions.

Tens of rattan industry entrepreneurs at the meeting hailed Gita`s statements and said they had suffered great losses over the past six years because of raw rattan scarcities as a result of government regulations allowing the export of rattan in raw material form.

The government regulations concerned were Trade Minister`s Decree No 12/2005 as revised by Trade Minister`s Decree No 36/2009.

The minister called on rattan furniture craftsmen in Cirebon to be willing to help businessmen in rattan producing regions to develop similar industries to create employment.

Asked when the decree to ban rattan exports would be issued, the minister said it would be done within the next few days.

Meanwhile, Industry Minister MS Hidayat said on the occasion the government was resolved to revive the domestic rattan industry`s 1980-2000 glory because rattan was one of the country`s most precious natural products that should be used for the welfare of the majority of the people.

"So, the policy to stop rattan exports will not only be to serve the interest of Cirebon or West Java rattan industries but also for developing rattan handicraft industries in provinces that are also producing rattan," he said.

Cirebon district head Dedi Supardi thanked the government for its swift response to the plight of the rattan handicraft industry in the country especially that in Cirebon which had become the country`s rattan industry center.

He said in the heyday of the rattan industry in 1988-1989, the value of rattan handicraft and furniture exports from Cirebon reached US$124 million a year while as many as 300,000 people were employed in the industry.

In 2010-2011 however the export value dropped by 70 percent. "Only 30 percent of the rattan industries has survived until now while many of their skilled workers have changed profession or become unemployed," he said.

He said rattan as a raw material was now worth only US$1 to US$1.5 per kilogram but when it had been turned into finished products it could be worth US$8 to US$20 per kilogram. "This is the added value that has so far been enjoyed by other countries," he said.

After the dialog the three ministers visited the workshops of rattan furniture makers PT Tanamas Industri Komunitas in Tegalsari and PT Aida Ratta in Bodesari.

The ministers who arrived in Cirebon by helicopter returned to Jakarta at around 11.30 through Cirebon`s Cakrabhuawana airport.


Editor: Ella Syafputri
Copyright © ANTARA 2011