MITI eyes possible abolishment of APs on imports


KUCHING: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) plans to remove the Import Permit Licence (AP) on several products, in which some are deemed not relevant to today’s global trading environment.

Datuk Kamaruddin Ismail

Currently, the ministry is undertaking the review of all AP requirements for all sectors  that not only involve MITI, but all other ministries across the board.

“We are at the final stage of reviewing the APs. The paper is ready and we hope to present it to the Cabinet before end of this month. Hopefully, those APs that were imposed for no valid reason, or are not in line with the times now, will be removed,” the ministry’s Deputy Secretary-General of Industry, Datuk Kamaruddin Ismail told reporters at a press conference held after the launch of the ‘Sarawak Domestic Investment Dialogue and Seminar’ at a hotel here yesterday.

The event was officiated by Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is also the Minister of Industrial Development and Minister of Tourism and Heritage.

The AP issue came to attention when a representative from the Sarawak Manufacturing Association brought it up during the opening dialogue session earlier, in which he highlighted problems faced by local food products manufacturers, especially those using wheat products as their main ingredients, with regards to the imposition of APs.

“For the particular case of wheat, this is not under MITI but it’s under the Ministry of Agriculture. Hence, the inclusion of all ministries since it involves all importation of items, not only manufactured products but also agriculture and health products.

“The AP on wheat for example, we are very concerned, in the sense that we never produce a single grain of wheat in the country and yet, we impose AP on these products. Some of these APs are not serving their purpose anymore,” he added.

Asked to put a number on items imposed with the APs, Kamaruddin responded that the figures could easily be over 2,000 out of about 10,000 tariff lines.

“I believe that half of these APs should be removed.”

However, Kamaruddin stated that some APs could not be removed due to the nation’s various international commitments.

“On the imposition of these APs, we cannot do anything. For example, under the UN (United Nations) Strategic Trade Acts 2010, countries are required to monitor their import and export of products. This is our

obligation under the UN charter for security, as well as for environment and health reasons. As such, the AP requirements will remain on these goods,” he explained.

Items listed under the UN charter included military goods, nuclear equipment and facilities, special related equipment, substance-processing equipment, electronics, telecommunications and information security products, sensors, navigational and avionics items, as well as marine and aerodynamics systems.

Nevertheless, Kamaruddin reiterated, “For APs that were imposed in terms of trying to protect the local industry, then we have to do the evaluation of whether the industry can face the competition now. It all depends on input from all ministries on whether to maintain or remove these requirements.”