The only requirement is security and control is very tight in China."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will study the possibility of signing a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with China to make its agricultural products able to enter that country more easily, Agriculture Minister Suswono said here on Friday.

He said Indonesia would propose four horticultural commodities for the agreement namely sallaca fruit, mangosteen, avocado and bird nest.

"There is no reason for not signing the MRA so long as the products meet food security requirements because now is an era of free trade. The only requirement is security and control is very tight in China," he said, adding that bird nest also has big potential to be exported to China.

So far, Indonesia has signed MRAs with the US, Australia and Canada, he added.

Products from a country that has signed an MRA with Indonesia are believed to be secure including their packaging.

Through the MRA scheme horticultural products from the three countries are allowed to enter through any gate in the country including Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, he explained.

Based on the agriculture minister`s regulations number 42 and43 of 2012 all horticultural products are only allowed to enter the country through three ports namely Belawan in Medan, North Sumatra, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, East Java, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta.

Suswono said China submitted the application for MRA when he held a meeting with the Chinese quarantine minister with regard to China`s rejection of sallaca fruit from Indonesia.

Regarding the rejection he said that his office is now still evaluating their reasons.

"In principles we are open. If they are not true (the Chinese reasons) the product will be allowed to enter there again. So, immediately after the study is finished and no problem is found with regard to security China is basically open," he said.

On the MRA implementation the minister said it would probably be implemented at the end of this year.

About Indonesia`s fear of Chinese horticultural products overflowing the country due to the MRA the minister said the government would tighten its control especially with regard to their security, adding that Chinese products have been confiscated several times so far for failing to meet security requirements.

The minister said if control is tight only quality products would enter the country and so, "we will not be flooded by products from China."

He said Indonesia enjoyed a surplus of US$22 billion in its trade of agricultural products but its exports to China were still lower than its imports from that country.

"Totally, however fruit imports are still 10 percent below national production," he added. ***3***

(Reporting by Subagyo/Uu.H-YH/F001)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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