Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Business Guide | Applying for Import Licenses in Indonesia

In order to import goods as a locally incorporated foreign investment company ‘PMA’ or a Foreign Trade Representative Office ‘K3PA’, an import license called an ‘API’ (Angka Pengenal Importir) for the specific category of goods is required. The Indonesian government strictly regulates import quotas, which means that obtaining an import license can be a highly bureaucratic and time consuming process.

There are various types of import licenses that can be applied for as a foreign company which are subject to particular requirements and restrictions:

  • General Import License ‘API-U’ – A general import license for trading companies engaging in sales and distribution in Indonesia.
  • Producer Import License ‘API-P’ – For the import of specific categories of items related to the production and manufacture of the goods that the company is engaged in such as raw materials. An API-P holder cannot trade imported goods with a third party.
  • Limited Import License ‘API-T’ – For the import of goods related to direct investment and is issued in accordance with BKPM regulations.
  • Limited Import License for Contractors ‘API-K’ – For contractors to import specific goods that may require licenses from particular ministries that the goods relate to.

For certain types of goods a Special Importer Identification Number or ‘NPIK’ (Nomor Pengenal Importir Khusus) is required and can only be applied for once an API has been approved. The NPIK is required for the import of commodities such as rice, corn, soybeans and sugar as well as manufactured goods such as textiles, footwear, electronics, electronic components and toys. A letter of recommendation is needed from the relevant government ministries to apply for an NPIK.

An import license holder must declare all goods imported into Indonesia to the Indonesian Directorate General of Customs and Excise, and be registered with a Customs Identification Number.

Imported goods are subject to import tariffs which normally range from 5% to 20%, 0% for certain goods from markets where Indonesia has established trade agreements such as imported goods from within the ASEAN or certain types of products from China as specified in the C-AFTA whereas other goods such as motor vehicles are subject to a luxury goods tax. Companies incorporated within Special Economic Zones or ‘bonded zones’ are not subject to import tariffs.

For a one-off import of goods or import of goods to Indonesia in a small volume, it is recommended to find a local company which already holds the import license for the goods to be imported as an ‘Undername Importer’. There are numerous companies in Indonesia within freight forwarding and customs clearance that can provide this service, however it is important to confirm that they hold the specific import license for the category of goods to be imported. A further option is to approach a company engaged in the specific sector.

Foreign companies seeking to sell their goods in Indonesia without setting up a local Indonesian company must appoint an import agent or distributor for this purpose.

For more information about obtaining an import license for business activities in Indonesia, contact GBG Indonesia.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2015

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Indonesia Snapshot

Capital: Jakarta
Population: 259 million (2016)
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
Nominal GDP: $936 billion USD (IMF, 2016)
GDP Per Capita: $3,620 USD at Current Prices (IMF, 2016)
GDP Growth: 5.0% (2016)
External Debt: 36.80% of GDP (BI, Q2 2016)
Ease of Doing Business: 91/190 (WB, 2017)
Corruption Index: 90/176 (TI, 2016)