New regulations threaten to entangle U.S. fruit exports to an important Asian market.

While the Indonesia government did recently rescind its intention to close the port of Jakarta to imported produce, another regulation set to go into effect Sept. 28 could cause problems for U.S. produce exports, said Mark Powers, vice president of international trade and transportation for the Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, Wash.

Indonesia regulation could trip U.S. fruit exportsFrom January through July this year, Indonesia imported $56 million of U.S. fruit, including $41 million in apples and $10 million in grapes.

Indonesia’s new rules add registration and licensing of importers for horticultural products, and also would impose new duties for exporters, Powers said.

The new rule would add labeling and packaging requirements, in addition to an inspection/surveying requirement before each load is exported.

Powers said the new requirement — likely to look at origin information, volume, value and safety of packaging — is not workable the way the exports are handled today. He said it would create logistics headaches for shippers.

“Having a surveyor company checking off the thousands of containers that are going to be going out all wanting to be on the same vessel on the same shipping date loading out of a number of different packinghouses presents a significant problem and cost,” he said.

Powers said the industry is doing it all it can to work with the U.S. government to ask the Indonesian government to postpone or rescind the regulation.

“There have been a number of meetings on this issues between the U.S. and Indonesian authorities but we have no resolution.”

It is unclear when Indonesia will begin to enforce the new rule, he said.