Imported used clothing and shoes are reportedly flooding Indonesia. However, many other countries view them as waste that should be recycled. So, what is the cause of the proliferation of these secondhand clothing imports?
The cause of this trend is attributed to Indonesia’s lack of strict regulations governing the importation of secondhand clothing and shoes.
Dharmesh Shah, an advisor to the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), states that the reason behind the sizable market for imported used clothing is due to the absence of regulations and the availability of cheap, unregulated clothing.
According to Shah, these imported items from various countries, mainly Singapore, have a low percentage of reusability, which exacerbates the waste problem in the destination country.
Additionally, the text highlights the concerns of two vendors who sell second-hand goods at the Batam flea market, who stated in an interview with Reuters that they typically purchase items in sacks without knowing what is inside them.
As a result, vendors frequently dispose of more than half of the contents of the sack they have purchased because it is deemed unsaleable.
One source of these imported used goods is a company called Yox Impek, based in Singapore, which has been implicated in the misuse of donated used shoes.
Furthermore, according to Veri Anggrijono, the Director-General of Consumer Protection and Trade at the Ministry of Trade, the illegally used clothing market is worth millions of dollars annually.
Despite efforts by the ministry to crack down on illegal imports, the trade continues to thrive.
Although Indonesia has regulations prohibiting the importation of used clothing under HS tariff code 6309, as stated in the Ministry of Trade Regulation No. 51 / M-DAG / PER / 7/2015 regarding the Prohibition of Used Clothing Imports and the Ministry of Trade Regulation No. 18 of 2021 concerning Prohibited Goods for Export and Import, importers who violate the law can face sanctions, including imprisonment and fines.
However, Veri notes that the only action taken by the ministry so far has been to revoke import licenses and seize and destroy used clothing.
The impact of this used clothing importation on the local industry has been devastating, causing many local clothing and footwear manufacturers to suffer economic uncertainties.