Govt to Eliminate Soybean Import Duties

JAKARTA ~ The government is to eliminate import duties on soybeans in a bid to address a shortage which has begun to affect producers of popular tofu and tempeh, state media reported

“A meeting has decided to eliminate the import duty for soybeans because it is true that imports account for the largest part of soybean supplies,” Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu was quoted by the Antara news agency as saying, after meeting with the coordinating economy minister.

The import duty was previously set at 10 percent but prices on the world market have risen by as much as 100 percent in the past week because of harvest failures in main producing countries, it reported.

The meeting was convened after thousands of soybean-reliant tofu and tempeh producers took to the streets in protest over rising prices.

Tofu and tempeh are popular food items in Indonesia, where the price of meat is not affordable for a large majority of people.

Pangestu, however, said that the decision still had to be finalized by the finance minister, who was currently out of the capital.

She said the zero import duty would remain in place as long as world prices were high but would be revoked when they fell to normal.

Filed under: The Nation

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