Tough Customs Stance on Luggage Revoked

Tough Customs Stance on Luggage Revoked

Following nationwide protests against the new rules issued by the Minister of Trade (Nomor 36 Tahung 2023), subsequently reissued as Commerce Minister Regulation Number 3 of 2024 on importation policies, the Government has essentially revoked these rules that severely limited the amount and value of goods travelers can hand carry when arriving in Indonesia.

Many see the new import rules as draconian. The revocation occurred after a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, 16 April 2024, held at the Coordinating Ministry for Trade. Participants included the Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2M), the Ministry of Industry, and the Finance Ministry’s Director General of Customs and Excise.

Quoted by CNN Indonesia and broadcast on CNBC Indonesia, the Head of BP2M, Benny Rhamdani, said: “The result of the closed-door meeting the Association for Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI), Permendag 36/2023 has been put on hold, revoked, and finally superseded by the old rule Pemendag Number 25.” 

With the revocation of the new regulation on carry-on luggage, passenger luggage brought by passengers when landing in Indonesia is no longer limited. As this applies to Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI) returning to Indonesia, the “old” Custom and Excise rules now apply with Value-Added Tax (VAT) for goods valued at more than US$1,500 or approximately Rp. 24.3 million.

Tough Customs Stance on Luggage Revoked

Benny Rhamdani explained further: “This means that items carried by PMI are now linked to a limit of US$1,500. Migrant workers cannot be limited to the number and type of items they are carrying as luggage, but only limited by total value. Matters related to passenger luggage allowances are no longer regulated by the Minister of Trade Regulation.

Zulkifli Hasan (Zulhas), Indonesian Minister of Trade, already revised Minister of Trade Regulation Number 36 of 2023 regarding import regulation and is now Minister of Trade Regulation Number 03 of 2024. The new clarifying regulation is considered stricter and effective since 10 March 2024.

The new regulation has sparked widespread public debate and protests. It included stipulations that forbid air passengers from bringing more than two pairs of footwear. Pamper baby diapers and feminine pads were also regulated to just five pieces per passenger. 

The revocation of the limited regulations no longer specifically restricts the type and number of pieces of items acquired abroad. Explaining the relaxation of the rules, Zulhas said: “There’s no (revision). If we shop abroad, we pay tax when we come home. . .you don’t (necessarily) have to pay tax on shoes, cellphones, (and) bags.”

In the end, Zulhas canceled plans to revise the new regulations, insisting the regulations now in place ease the regulations applying to members of the public who often travel abroad while 

Accompanying personal items purchased abroad with a value of more than US$1,500 are now subject to sales tax.

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