Countries of Uni Europe (UE) were known to be extremely strict about screening imported products especially on food and consumed products. Various regulations put in effect by UE had held back export of food products from Indonesia. Fishery products as one of Indonesia’s reliable products to UE were subject to tight screening by health and custom authorities. Shrimp for example, had to undergo extremely strict inspection by the health and customs authorities before being permitted to enter UE’s market. The examination included check up on antibiotic residues.
Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Fishery Procession and Marketing Companies (APSI) Thomas Dharmawan confirmed about UE strict policy which stagnated Indonesia’s export of shrimps to Europe. Thomas remarked that rules put in effect by UE made it difficult for Indonesian shrimp exporters to export shrimp to Europe. Since May last year, it was mandatory for cultivated fish from Indonesia to undergo screening of antibiotics residues. The policy was adopted on the basis of past examination experience by UE authorities.
The obligation was felt as a burden to Indonesian exporters because extra charges was imposed. For example, examination was taken from 20% of volume of exported fish. If there were 5 containers of cultivated fish, one container had to be tested, while cost of examination for 1 container was EUR 3,500. Another option to solve the problem was to increase price by 1% to 2%, but such would be hard to exercise because Indonesia would be less competitive against Thailand and Vietnam who were exempted from such examination cost. “The extra expenses are felt as a burden because exporters had to pay for them and it reduce profit margin” Thomas complained.
With the application of UR’s policy, Thomas predicted that export of shrimp to UE from Indonesia in 2011 was predicted to drop by 10% to 11%, yet last year export of shrimp to UE was only 12,191 tons. According to Thomas, even the value of exported shrimps in 2010 was less by than the previous year. The cause of export downturn according to Thomas, apart from low production output, was also due to strict regulations applies by UE on imported shrimps including shrimps from Indonesia.
In spite of all the obstacles in Indonesia, Victor to Nikulujuw, Director General of Fish Processing and Marketing, the Ministry of Maritime and Fishery estimated Indonesia’s export of fish to Europe could reach USD 2 billon. According to victor, if free trade agreement between Indonesia and Europe were effective it would be advantageous to Indonesia’s fishery industry because of their limited domestic production of fish. As known, fish production output from Europe was lessened because UE implemented moratorium of fish catching.
Export of fish to UE remained prospective, especially to countries where fishery was not prevalent like Holland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Victor stated that the total value of fish trading to UE was 20% of total world’s trading value which was posted at USD 100 billion. In the Free Trade era Victor projected export value to reach USD 1 billion to USD 2 billion thanks to elimination of import tax. Today on Indonesian fish products exported to Europe import tax of 10% to 15% was still imposed.