Indonesia has imposed safeguard duties ranging from $1.33 to $4.34 on imports of garments and accessories from all countries, including Bangladesh.

The duties, which entered into force on 12 November, 2021, will continue for three years till November, 2024, a notification dated 17 November from the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

The Business Standard received a copy of the notification. 

It says that the safeguard duties will apply to imports of garments and accessories, except eight items of headwear and neckwear. 

As per the regulation, the safeguard duties will range from Rp19,260 to Rp63,000 per item for the first year and will decline gradually.

Md Hafijur Rahman, director general of WTO Cell under the commerce ministry, confirmed the matter. 

China, Singapore and Vietnam currently enjoy duty-free access to Indonesia, whereas imported apparel from Bangladesh is already subject to duty of up to 25%.

Bangladesh bought over $1.94 billion worth of goods from the Southeast Asian country and exported $57 million in the fiscal year 2018-19. 

Of the garment items, Bangladesh imported $187 million worth of textile articles, including $133m of fibres and exported apparels worth $30m. 

Safeguard duties are state levies that can be imposed on imported goods in case of an absolute or relative surge in the import of goods detrimental to similar domestic products or which could cause heavy losses to the domestic industry. 

Bangladesh, however, is not worried about the duties. 

“Indonesia is not a big market for us,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) co-president Shahidullah Azim told The Business Standard. “We export very little there. They are also our competitors in the export of readymade garments. As a result, their new tariffs will not have a significant impact on our exports.”

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association Executive President Mohammad Hatem echoed Shahidullah, saying that Indonesia is not a potential market for Bangladesh so the safeguard measures will not have any major effect on exports.